Feeling Lost? A Pet Can Be Your Best Helper

The feelings of home are changing.

Home is one of the most complicated words in our language. It’s a concept that usually means many different things to many different people. Home can mean a physical structure, it can mean a state of mind, and home can also be a feeling. For some people, home is where they feel like they truly know themselves. For others, home is simply where they grew up and have lived their entire lives.

Home has so much to do with our personal views on life and love, but it also has more subtle meaning as well. There are the feelings we might get when we open the door to our house at the end of a long day and take off our shoes by the front door, or when we walk into our house after being away for an extended period of time or after work. There’s something about “The feeling of coming home” that makes us feel not only safe but also loved and belonging. And because every person’s life experience is different, everyone has a unique relationship with this word: “home.”

Many families are taking in a pet.

You and your family aren’t alone. According to a survey by the American Pet Products Association, more than two million pets were adopted from shelters across the country in 2019. During this uncertain time, many people are turning to their furry friends for comfort.

Pets are great companions who can soothe anxiety and sadness. Even just petting an animal for a few minutes at home can help reduce stress levels in humans, according to a 2017 study by Washington State University researchers published in the journal Scientific Reports. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology found that interacting with animals was associated with the release of oxytocin—a hormone that helps relieve feelings of loneliness or depression—in older adults living in long-term care facilities.

How pets can help during quarantine.

  • Pets can provide companionship.

If you live alone, having a pet around provides a feeling of companionship. For example, dogs will often follow their owners from room to room. Cats and dogs are also great listeners if you need to vent about your day or talk through a challenge you are facing.

  • Pets can help with depression and anxiety

Having a living creature rely on you for food, exercise, love and care is empowering and can boost your self-esteem and help fight depression or anxiety that may come with being in quarantine. If you are struggling mentally during this time, knowing that your pet needs to be fed/walked can give you the motivation necessary to take care of yourself as well.

  • Pets give purpose

Pets need constant support in order to thrive — just like other living things! Taking care of them helps create a sense of purpose because it forces individuals out of the house (even if it’s just for 15 minutes) and gives them something meaningful to do each day. While there may not be any major consequences if they don’t walk their dog one day, they may feel guilty knowing that their pup didn’t get her daily dose of fresh air and exercise (and maybe even try harder the next day).

For many people, a pet is the perfect family member to add right now.

For many people, a pet is the perfect family member to add right now.

In uncertain times like these, many of us are struggling with anxiety and depression. Pets are good for us mentally, physically and emotionally.

One of the biggest benefits that we get out of our pets is companionship and social interaction-something we may be missing right now that we practice social distancing. Having a pet around can help to fill some of that void when you are feeling lonely. If you have just lost your job or have been furloughed from work due to COVID-19, having a pet around might also be helpful during that period of unemployment. Taking care of your furry friend will give you something to focus on, keep you busy and reduce feelings of hopelessness about financial matters during this time. They can also motivate you to get up in the morning if you are no longer going into an office every day by giving you purpose by caring for them each day. Getting outside with your dog or cat can also be very beneficial at this time as it will help you to get much needed sunshine and fresh air throughout the day which has been shown to increase dopamine levels in the brain thereby improving mood further!

Getting outdoors more with your animal companion will also have another benefit: increased exercise! In fact, taking care of our furry friends can give us many opportunities for regular physical activity through walking our dogs or playing fetch with them! Some animals require more movement than others so make sure that whatever pet you choose will fit in well with your lifestyle!

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