Your bags are packed, the car is ready, and it’s finally time to head to rehab. All that’s left to do is grab the leash and usher Fido out the front door. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. Some treatment facilities permit clients to bring companion animals with them. Could a pet-friendly rehab be the right choice for you? Keep reading to find out!
What is a Pet-Friendly Rehab?
A pet-friendly rehab is an addiction treatment center that permits residents or clients to have certain animals with them while they are receiving care.
The law requires treatment facilities and other locations to permit service animals such as guide dogs. But pet-friendly rehabs take this concept a step further by allowing animals who aren’t serving in an official capacity (but who are still extremely important to their humans).
The policies and procedures of pet-friendly rehabs can vary considerably from place to place. Differences can include which types of animals are allowed, how many pets can be on the premises at the same time, and what requirements or restrictions are in place to ensure the safety of everyone (including the pets themselves).
Benefits of a Pet-Friendly Rehab
If your pet is important to you, then you are already well aware of the many benefits of spending time in their presence. But you may not have considered how your pet can help you while you’re in rehab. Here are just a few of the many potential benefits of choosing a pet-friendly rehab.
- Companionship: One of the best parts of having a pet is that they are such as wonderful source of companionship. Addiction can be isolating. Treatment can be scary (at first). Having a faithful companion by your side can be an essential source of comfort and familiarity.
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness, or the practice of being fully present in the moment without judgement or self-criticism, can be a valuable recovery skill. Even if you’ve never heard of this term before, if you have a pet, you have almost surely engaged in the practice. Being with a pet can focus your attention and quiet your mind. Also, pets can set a great example of how to be mindful. Dogs don’t beat themselves up over questionable decisions they made years ago, and cats surely aren’t worried about what might happen tomorrow (as long as their food bowl is full today, of course.)
- Health: Several studies have documented the health benefits of having a pet. As reported by the National Institutes of Health, spending time with pets can improve your mood, lower your blood pressure, and increase your level of physical activity. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spending time with pets can help people manage symptoms of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Stability: To be successful in rehab – and in recovery – you need to do some hard work. Some days, you will make great progress. Other days, you will struggle. You can’t let the difficult times push you in to a dark place, nor can you allow your successes to distract you from the work that remains. Your pet’s needs will remain the same no matter what kind of a day (or week) you’ve had. This consistency can be especially valuable during rehab, when so much in your life is changing.
How to Find a Pet-Friendly Rehab Center
The process of finding a pet-friendly rehab center is similar to finding any other healthcare provider. You should take stock of your needs, goals, and preferences, then identify the places that seem to be the best fit for you. When you’re trying to find the ideal pet-friendly rehab, you will also need to get some additional information about what your feathered, finned, or four-footed friend’s experience will be like.
In terms of your treatment, here are some important questions to ask of any rehab you’re considering:
- What therapies and services do you provide?
- What level or levels of care do you offer?
- How will you determine which types of treatment are right for me?
- What are the qualifications of the people who provide care at your facility?
- How long will I need to stay in treatment?
- Will I have my own room, or will I share a room with another resident?
- Does your center offer care for clients with co-occurring mental health disorders?
- What types of discharge planning or aftercare support do you provide?
- What happens if I have a relapse or begin to struggle after I’ve completed treatment?
Turning your focus to your pet, these questions can help you find the right place for you both:
- What types of pets are permitted at your center?
- Can multiple clients have pets with them at the same time, or is only one person allowed to have a pet?
- Do I need to bring all of my pet’s food with me when I’m admitted, or will I be able to order more food during my time in treatment?
- Can I ask a staff member or another client to check on my pet if I’m not able to?
- Can I let other residents visit with my pet if they want to, or do I have to keep my pet away from everyone else?
- What happens if my pet gets sick or injured while I’m in treatment?
- Can I get a copy of your rules and policies for clients who have pets?
The representatives of any reputable pet-friendly rehab should be more than happy to answer these and any other questions you have. If a center gives vague replies or refuses to answer any questions, you should consider that to be a significant red flag.
Contact Our Pet-Friendly Rehab in Los Angeles, California
The Renewal Health Group network includes a wide range of treatment options, including pet-friendly rehabs, for adults whose lives have been disrupted by substance abuse, addiction, and mental health concerns. When you’re ready to start living the healthier life you deserve, the Renewal team is here for you. Contact us today to learn more about our levels of care, programming options, treatment methods, and locations.