Latest News and Views

By Spencers Solicitors

  Lynn Collins    
  May 19, 2020

Pets and Mental Health

I don’t need to tell you how our lives have been impacted over the last couple of months, with the loss of the daily routine and life as we knew it - add to that the very real threat of the COVID-19 virus itself and the loss and fear it has brought with it, it is no wonder we are turning to our pets for comfort more than ever. The novelty of spending more time at home with our pets may not be just be a fad- you have probably seen with the influx of photos of cats and dogs at keyboards on social media or walking in on zoom calls with their owners on social media right now. For many of us working from home, they are now our furrier than usual colleagues, who give us an excuse to get out of the house for our daily exercise allowance; but research shows that the bond goes much deeper than that.

Not everyone understands the relationship between human and beast, though, or even realises how much pets do for their owners. Pets are a great motivator for people. Dogs especially are great at encouraging owners to get exercise, and this can be beneficial for those suffering from depression.

Pets can also have calming effects on their owner. Just by stroking, sitting next to or playing with a pet can gives owning a chance to relax and calm their minds. Caring for a pet also gives your day purpose and reward, and a sense of achievement. It also helps you feel valuable and needed.

A pet can be a great source of comfort, companionship and motivation for their owners. In many ways, pets can help us to live mentally healthier lives. A pet is great companion. They give owners company, a sense of security and someone to share the routine of the day with.

Pets can be especially valuable company for those in later life because of factors related to this stage of life, including spouses and friends passing away, being stuck at home due to health or transportation issues. This is true not just for the older generation at the moment, with many of us being truly physically isolated during COVID-19.

A lot of us, 8 or 9 weeks into lockdown, have found our way to the virtual meeting room/ pub, which is fantastic to be able to see and hear people we otherwise would not see. But pets are physically present for many people, and there is a scientific argument to back up that there is really something to having that tactile component of petting or touching a pet. Even watching goldfish in a tank has been proven to aid relaxation and escapism. It’s no wonder then, that an estimated 12 million British households choose to keep a pet.

Whilst the many health and social benefits of having pets are undisputed, and one might be tempted to think that being at home, it is the perfect time to bring a pet into the family; animal charities, including The Kennel Club, however, are urging people to think twice before committing.

As one of the UK’s biggest dog welfare organisations, it is warning people to consider whether a pet like a dog would fit into their lifestyle once lockdown restrictions are relaxed- after-all, a dog is for life, not just for lockdown.

Here are some of our team with their pets in the new ‘office’. (Left to right- Spike and Henry Collins; Bart Swain; Merlin Wright; Cecil the tortoise and Karen Cawood; Bertie and mum Carol Peach; Spencer the dog Price!

Pet Collage

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