The lockdown has been a difficult time for us as well as for our furry friends. But it has been more stressful for their humans. With work from home becoming the new normal and work for home muscling in from every side along with family responsibilities, it is taking a mental health toll. This is where having a pet is a boon.
They have proven themselves repeatedly as the best therapists. The correlation between pet ownership and improved mental health is a commonly accepted idea by this point. Especially during the lockdown, they have made for excellent company for both adults and children. Pet centres have also seen an uptick in pet adoption in the last few months. People who never thought they could adopt a pet because of busy lifestyles and crazy travel schedules are now adjusting to the new normal and welcoming the addition of another life into their families.
While the reasons are endless, I have listed down my top favourites which I use to make a case for pet adoption and showcase the positive impact it has on our physical and mental wellness:
1. Increases exercise
A pet will ensure you get your daily dose of exercise irrespective of your increasing desire to just veg out and watch Netflix. Whether it is playing a simple game of fetch or giving them a bath or just a loving pet massage or just chasing after them as they make off with your shoes… they know how to get their share of loving with melting eyes, cuddles, and licks… and get you to exercise.
2. Mental wellness
The simple act of petting is extremely therapeutic. Pets help ease anxiety, depression, ease loneliness and build self-confidence for people anxious about going out into the world. They can also help you become more mindful and appreciate the joy of the present. There is a reason why dogs are used for therapy and are service support for humans struggling with various illnesses or handicaps. Dogs have a high quotient of emotional intelligence and empathy. They can understand a lot of our conversations and are very perceptive. They can easily interpret our tone of voice, moods, body language, and gestures and aid you accordingly.
3. Instant mood uplifter
If happiness had an instant version, pets would be it. They live in the moment. Whether it is a cat or a dog or a parrot or a hamster or a rabbit, they have their own unique way of making you smile, break off in splits or take time off to cuddle. Try not to smile as your cat pulls your hand to pet her or your dog sneaks up to stare at your plate or a bunny trying to sneak its way into your video call.
Companionship can help prevent illness and even add years to your life, while isolation and loneliness can trigger symptoms of depression. Caring for a live animal can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems, especially if you live alone. Most dog and cat owners talk to their pets, some even use them to work through their troubles. Sometimes all you need is for someone to listen. You will be surprised at how observant animals are. They are especially great for developing emotional quotient among children. And nothing beats loneliness like coming home to a wagging tail, wet licks and purring cat filled with unconditional love.
5. Adding structure and routine to your day
Many pets, especially dogs, require a regular feeding and exercise schedule. Having a consistent routine keeps an animal balanced and calm—and it can work for humans as well. While helping your pet regulate a routine, it automatically ensures you have one too.