Firstly, I want to start by sending you lots of love and I hope you are all doing well and staying safe during this global pandemic. I’ve always been a huge lover of living alongside furry companions and I am extremely lucky to have my own precious little doggie (and best friend) named Minnie. Cue very adorable photo… If you have a pet in your family then you will know the endless love and joy they bring into your life and you will most likely of forgotten what your life was like before you had them. Pets really do hold a very special place in our hearts. We have been in our homes in lockdown recently and if you’ve been lucky enough to have a pet in your family then you will know that it’s an absolute blessing to have them by your side comforting you everyday (especially during tougher times like these when we are having to social distance from everyone else.) So I felt it was only fitting to write about our pets and there has been alot of growing evidence about the therapeutic benefits that living alongside a furry companion can bring and that’s what I wanted to share with you all. Don’t worry if you don’t have a pet as this post isn’t solely for pet owners…it’s for animal lovers too. Close your eyes and visualise your ideal companion for a long evening on the sofa, the perfect companion for an evening of happiness, a conflict free atmosphere, ultimate relaxation, cosy snuggling and sharing comfortable silences…Is the companion you pictured a furry four-legged one? Mine is!
Statistics show that around half of the UK population own a pet with 90% and more reporting that their animals make them happy and 88% agree that their companions have improved the quality of their life. There are so many heart warming stories where people are going through really tough or hard times and moments in their life and their furry companions have been the reason they wake up everyday and their hope and light to see them through the darkness. Alot of people who own pets don’t just see them as a pet they see them as a valuable member of the family, a best friend. I believe they also give massive amounts of comfort and can be amazing for healing too. Animal assisted therapy is one example of the incredible work these animals do for us. If your an animal lover you’ve probably heard of the ‘magic’ of horses and how they know when humans have anxious feelings, that’s because horses are herd animals and they mimic each-others heart rates in order to protect the herd from any prey. They basically synchronise with our own central nervous system and mirror our emotions…I find that truly fascinating and incredible.
The Remarkable Benefits
There is so much evidence and well documented research out there that shows us that we gain a calming effect when we are alongside our animals. When humans and animals interact we have heightened levels of the feel good hormone Oxytocin. And that explains all of the remarkable effects described by people who use ‘therapy dogs’ and take them into schools, hospitals and care homes. Therapy researchers show incredible results from animal assisted interventions in people’s lives when they are suffering with dementia, strokes, autism and more.
The whole sensory experience of simply just stroking a pet also has a variety of benefits too. It has been known to reduce human levels of the stress hormone Cortisol (this hormone contributes to higher blood sugar levels and imbalances the metabolism.) There has been some research done also that shows it could benefit our pets in the same way too when they have contact with us and human interaction, it could decrease their canine stress levels. Which I find really beautiful, that us and our animals share in this benefit.
Studies also show that children raised in rural environments with plenty of contact with animals were likely to have stronger immune systems and be more resilient to stress than their urban peers raised in pet free environments. The same study also mentioned that animal socialised rural children were at a lower risk of mental health problems and some studies have even shown that children can bond more closely with their pets than with their siblings.
Having a close bond with our pets also has a stack of research done and many have found that a close bond with an animal protects us against many different health problems for example; Heart disease. These close bonds also benefit our creation of healthy microbiome of gut bacteria. And of course there is healthy habits with pet ownership… regular exercise is gained from walking a dog or mucking out the stables is physically hard work. I’ve also personally noticed that I have alot more social connections on my dog walks with other dog walkers which boosts other areas of my life too.I’m sure that there are even more incredible benefits that I haven’t mentioned in my post so if you know of any I would love you to get involved down below in the comments and share your knowledge too. Animals are truly precious, they sense how you are feeling and show comfort to you in their own ways, they don’t judge you and they have a quiet language about them that you really just can’t explain. They just make a strong and everlasting connection with you! If you are lucky enough to be blessed with a furry companion then you will know the endless love and constant contentment they give you.
My heart melts with joy when I see people’s pet pics so I would love to see yours! It’s a shame you can’t attach a photo in the comment section but if you have Twitter head over to there and Tweet me them using @Beyou_tifulChar to share them with me and to let everyone else see your beautiful fur babies. I will retweet each one!
Don’t forget to tweet them to @Beyou_tifulChar