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Pets and Mental Health

A few years ago, my husband and I adopted two rescue cats, Daisy Flower and Dimples, and one rescue dog, Lady Beetle. Daisy Flower is on anti-anxiety medication, Dimples has one eye and Lady Beetle has terrible PTSD after four really horrific years before we got her.

As you can imagine, life has changed quite a bit since they arrived in our home. There is the normal chaos that comes with animals but they have also had such a calming effect.

To be given the opportunity to improve their lives, has improved my life.

To be given the opportunity to love them, has made me feel more loved.

To be given the opportunity to create a home for them, has meant that my home is much more homely.

When we do things for others, science tells us that this has a ripple effect of positivity for the giver. Adopting a rescue pet makes this feeling even more apparent. Adopting a rescue also means that there are less puppy farms, a saved life and extra pride that an animal in need has been given a second chance.

We also know that pets have a positive impact on our mental health, especially when combining exercise with bonding time.

1. Reduces stress

Research shows that movement eases stress and helps us to relax. Physical activity releases endorphins that create a state of happiness, so a walk with your dog will definitely improve your spirits.

2. Provides companionship

Our dogs are so consistently loyal and affectionate with us and they can make us feel special even when we are feeling blue – and not only will walking help improve you and your dog’s health, let’s face it – they will love you even more for it!

3. Helps us connect socially

Having the opportunity to meet other like-minded people at dog parks or the vet increases our opportunity for social interaction, conversation and even helpful advice.

4. Requires routine and organisation

Having routines can translate into being more organised in other parts of our lives.

5. Gives us a sense of purpose

When we feel like staying in bed and not facing the day, our doggies help us to get up and about and remind us that we have someone who relies on us.

January is ‘Walk Your Dog Month’ which is a great way to start off the year right (and walk off some of that festive food!) meaning better health for you and your dog!

Due to the trauma my beautiful Lady Beetle experienced in the first years of her life before we adopted her, she is very hyper-sensitive to other dogs. This means we have to walk her before dawn when there aren’t many other dogs out. I really don’t like early mornings so this task is usually left to her Dad. But when I do get out and about with her, it always feels good.

So get up and get moving, venture out into the great outdoors and blend your exercise with bonding time with you and your pup.

To read more blogs related to this topic, click here... mental healthwellbeing

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