Sometimes, we depend on our fur babies as much as they depend on us. Pets offer comfort, companionship, support and motivation and play a huge part in helping improve our mental health and general wellbeing. Animals give us a reason to get up and go outside, helping us meet new people and connect with them. Through the eyes of our fluffy friends, we can learn things we never knew about ourselves, take time to relax with them and most importantly, learn how to love unconditionally.
In anticipation on World Mental Health day on the 10th October, Webbox have collaborated with the team at Lancashire Mind to discuss the impact our pets have on our frame of mind. We’ve come together to share some of the ways our dogs and cats have helped us make it through when times have gotten tough:
Hannah- Children and Young Peoples’ Lead
“This is Minnie and Isla, our adorable cat and working Cocker Spaniel. They both do different things for my wellbeing as pets: Minnie has great intuition; she knows when I am poorly or upset and she will always come and find me and just sit with me. Just having her next to me when I’m feeling down makes me feel so much better and helps me calm down.
Isla, on the other hand, helps me keep active. She loves going out and getting fresh air and exercise. She really is a bundle of energy! They are both very loving and know when you need a cuddle, which is the best thing in the world.”
Lisa- Admin Worker
“Having a pet can be such an endless source of companionship. They’re loving, help lower your stress levels and can be seriously entertaining. My time with my pet is always full of fun and laughter.
I have a hunk of a cat called Zeus who is very good at making me get up in the morning and providing me with focus for the day. He is gentle giant, weighing 7kg and he’s even bigger than a Pekinese. I first came across him last March when I was told about his plight to find him a new home. When we met, I instantly identified with him and felt the need to take him home with me that very same day. I didn’t even tell my husband I had just adopted a cat! Little did I know how strong the bond between my husband and Zeus would be; very quickly, I saw my husband’s wellbeing improve and now they’re two peas in a pod. Zeus is a cat full of adventure and we have so many wonderful memories in the time we’ve been together.”
Jess- Community Development Coordinator
“My dog Daisy has helped enormously with my wellbeing. From the moment we met at an animal shelter, I knew we were going to have the best time getting out and about together. She’s also helped me through some very difficult times. Daisy was blind when we rescued her, but this doesn’t hold her back at all. We go on long walks across fields, have lots of snuggles every morning and night, and the welcome she gives me when I get home from work really is the highlight of my day. During lockdown, she has kept me company whilst working from home, and has given me a reason to get out of bed on furlough days. Dogs love you unconditionally, and mine has definitely taught me that whatever life throws at you, there are good things in every day – sometimes you just have to sniff them out!”
Helen- Tenancy Management Worker
“It is well documented that being active and connecting with nature can help improve your mood and generally make you to feel better about yourself.
We had our lovely dog, Alfi, for almost 15 years. He walked up almost every mountain in England and completed the Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge together on three separate occasions. He even fell off Snowdon and lived to tell the tale! Alfi lived for walks and helped us love walking too. It helped us get outdoors and experience nature, while keeping us very active at the same time. I can’t put into words the joy and happiness Alfi brought to our lives. Sadly, we lost Alfi recently but the motivation he gave us will keep us walking always and forever.”
Esther- Admin Worker
“It doesn’t matter if I’ve had a bad day, if I’m in a bad mood or if I’m dressed in my scruffiest clothes; my dog just loves me anyway. I think it’s the unwavering, unconditional love that really helps my wellbeing. On the days when I’m feeling low, I still have to get out and walk my dog, and this in itself helps boost my mood- not just the activity but also seeing how happy it makes him! I read once that the best therapist has four legs and a waggy tail – this couldn’t be more true.”
Sharon- Community Development Worker
“As an animal lover, my pets have been so important for my wellbeing over the last few months. Like most people, I have found the uncertainty and unfamiliarity of the pandemic very hard but through it all, my dogs have been the most loyal, constant companions. I have loved the long walks we have shared and I have even started running with them again, which is always an adventure! Wherever I am, they’re never far from my side, whether I’m working or pottering about in the garden. They have kept me calm, active and made me laugh through what has been a very difficult time for so many people.”
Julie- Transformational Coach
“I have two Bichon Frises called Billie and Bea. For me, having dogs is a great way to stay in a routine; which is so important for my mental health. In the past I have struggled with addiction/substance misuse and led a very chaotic life. Creating structure to your day (and a routine to stick to) can be very powerful in overcoming old habits. It also goes without saying that having a dog is a great way to be more active. Taking them out every day is something I look forward to and as a bonus, the walks keep me physically and mentally fit. It’s also a lovely way to get to know other dog walkers and feel a sense of community and connection.”
Paula- Community Development Coordinator
“I have two gorgeous spaniels and they mean the world to me. I have suffered with anxiety, depression, OCD and suicidal thoughts for most of my life and having the honour of being Gwen and Darwyn’s owner definitely helps me maintain my mental equilibrium. I am not exaggerating when I say that they’ve saved my life. Knowing that they will be there when I get home from work each day means the world to me. Gwen is exceptionally smart and loving. Darwyn is a big puppy, even though he’s nearly eight now, he still clumsily bumps into things as he twirls with excitement. They make me smile and laugh so much and they’re also the first to comfort me after a rough day. We’re a dog-loving nation and I know so many people that have felt the same love from their fur babies that I’ve been lucky enough to receive from mine. They enrich our lives, expect nothing in return and there’s no doubt that they have been the biggest gifts in my life.”
Jade- Community Development Coordinator
“I’ve been incredibly lucky to have had two of the most beautiful, fun-loving and charismatic furry companions to guide me through the last 20 years of my life. Boris and Missy impacted my wellbeing in too many ways to count. From acting as my protectors, to a shoulder to cry on, to a reason to get out of bed in the morning, they were always there for me. The influence they have had on my wellbeing and outlook on life cannot be put into words and I am forever grateful for the years I got to spend with them.”
10% of all purchases made on our website on 10th October will be donated to Lancashire Mind. #worldmentalhealthday
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