Tails of Recovery: How Animals Can Help
The use of animals to facilitate positive changes in a broad spectrum of therapeutic settings have been shown to promote physical, emotional, cognitive, and social improvement for people with special needs - including those with eating disorders.
Researchers have have found that while a pet can be a good friend, a close partner, and a comforting companion, it can also lower your blood pressure and heart rate, ease anxiety and stress, lessen depression, and have an impact on other illnesses in myriad ways. When used therapeutically, pets have been shown to help many people, including recovering addicts, with issues of honesty, control, anger, hostility, trust, and self-esteem, as well as experiencing the healing power of unconditional love.
It may be that having a pet in the room during a counseling session can be helpful.
Sometimes picking up an abandoned animal is a good thing. Stray and abandoned animals need housing, proper grooming and diet, and basic training and socialization in order to be adoptable. This aspect of the program allows people with eating disorders to be engaged in meaningful activity that, among other things, reduces self-consciousness and promotes feelings of purpose and self-confidence.