I, who have counted all your joys and sorrows, know there’s someone else in your life that has done the same for you – your dearly beloved pets. Every time you’re feeling sad or a bit lost, you can either journal, meditate, do some yoga or you could pet your dog and scratch your cat. Pets have a way of making you feel better.
Better body, better soul
For those of my creatures who love critters, I have some good news to share with you. Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression and loneliness. Playing with a pet can boost serotonin and dopamine, chemicals that help you feel calm and relaxed and ease symptoms of PTSD, bipolar and anxiety disorder. Studies have also shown that petting your dog or cat can lower your blood pressure and triglyceride and cholesterol levels. On an average, pet owners are less likely to visit a hospital than non-pet people. Even when you’re more generally stressed and anxious, stroking and snuggling up to a pet can be a soothing experience.
Play, sleep, repeat
Naughty or nice, caring for a pet also comes with its own physical demands. If you have a dog, especially a young one, you have your hands full. From walking them to playing with them, there’s a lot of physical activity involved including cleaning up their mess, feeding and grooming them. Pets add structure and routine to your day, which forces you to get out of bed and keep busy. Dogs and cats also encourage playfulness, laughter along with physical exercise, which can also increase your energy, immunity and make you fitter.
A friend indeed
Pets can also give you invaluable companionship. Often recommended as therapy aids or friends for elderly humans, pets make one feel wanted and needed. Talking to them and caring can be incredibly fulfilling. Animals live in the moment and teach you how to become more mindful and enjoy the present. Plus, what a great way to meet new people. Pet owners will regale you with stories of being stopped on the street by different individuals, pet shops and vet hospitals are great ways to meet like-minded people.
Child and furry child
Pets are a gateway to learning. They not only boost your morale and vitality, they can also be a source of positive, nonverbal communication. Children who grow up with pets are known to be more empathetic and responsible. They develop a higher self esteem at an early age and can socialise with people much faster than their other peers. Even if you don’t have time to take care of both your child and pet, getting them a hamster or a bird, will help tone down some of their aggressive or hyperactive behaviours.
Heavens! Not to worry if you are allergic to dogs or cats. There is a right pet for every soul. Rabbits aren’t as high maintenance as a dog or cat and they don’t require too much space. Snakes and lizards also get attached to their owners. Companion birds live long and talking to them can improve your cognitive function. They love social interaction and you don’t have to deal with the grief of losing them. Watching fish swim is scientifically proven to distract you and calm you down, so you’ll find them in several doctor’s or therapists’ offices.
“Animals take you out of your mind’s world and into the actual word you inhabit. This can be very liberating.”Anonymous pet owner