Woah. Sounds pretty cool right? Whilst I’m sure someone has invented therapy with pets that’s not what I wanted to talk about!
What I mean to question is whether pets have a soothing effect and if they can in fact help someone who is suffering with an illness, including mental illness.
Well I think they can. My lil guinea pigs make me happy. When I was struggling through college with depression I would often come home feeling weak, blue and in floods of tears. Sometimes I just wanted a no-questions-asked cuddle when I got home which had me making a beeline for the pigs.
They’re cute, they’re fluffy, they have their own little personalities and voices. I also genuinely think they could tell when I was upset because whenever I was crying they would just lie in my arms, purr a little and let me hold them rather than squeaking, hopping and playing all over my lap whilst tucking into some spinach!
(My current piggies, Boris and Edith. I was so happy when I saw them for the first time after my travels!)
I always say good morning to my pigs and talk to them whenever I’m near them so I do believe that through what I did would’ve been a lonelier time without them. Any pet owner will know, their furry friends offer companionship and understanding.
So is there any science to this? Can pets make people better? Heres a few fun facts:
- Pets, such as dogs, are a great motivator to encourage people to exercise which is beneficial for your mental health. It also allows you to be social, for example, talking to other dog owners in the park which prevents you from feeling withdrawn.
- A statistic from the Cats Protection shows that 76% of people could cope much better with their everyday lives thanks to their feline friends.
- Stroking, talking to and playing with pets has been shown to reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
- Being with pets allows you to relax and calm yourself, giving your mind a chance to wind down.
- Offering a sense of companionship. From a mental health point of view, getting some comfort and cuddles without having to explain whats wrong all the time (because often nothing in particular in the day upset you but being depressed is an everyday sadness that seems ever lasting) is invaluable, especially in old age when lonliness and depression can be a huge problem.
I am not, by the way, claiming that pets are the cure for all illnesses, nor that you should run to the closest pet dealer and buy one (although you should always research where you buy pets from, mine are all rescued) but I do find it a strange truth that pets can be so helpful when you’re feeling down.
And hey, if you don’t have a pet you can always give mine a cuddle. They’ll always make you smile.
Also guys it has come to my attention that when I post on Facebook, they don’t allow all my followers to see my post unless I pay for an advert (which is just rude), so please add your email address to the blog to get a notification when I’ve got a new post.