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Mental Health Awareness Month - How Our Four Legged Friends Can Pull Us Out Of The Darkest Times

The past 18 months has been difficult for many of us; working from home, isolating, home schooling, work stresses, lockdowns and being separated from friends and family has taken its toll making people feel unsure and low about the everyday.

It’s a well-known fact that animals and humans have a bond like no other. This bond can positively impact both the animal and humans’ temperament and mental health.

Many owners class their pet as one of the family and know that they will be provided with affection, company, unconditional love, and companionship. Pets, especially dogs and cats can recognise our behaviour, body language, expressions, and emotions. They can sense when things are not quite right and can provide humans with comfort, ease, and calm during these situations of uncertainty.

Studies have shown that dogs can reduce an array of emotions including anxiety, stress, anger, depression, and loneliness. While a dog cannot physically speak to you, they can offer you a form of empathy; showing you affection, provide company and bring you out of a low you might be facing.

October is Mental Health Awareness Month, and there have been many studies looking at how dogs can help individuals move away from suicidal thoughts and aid mental health. Providing for a dog means that the individual must focus on something else other than themselves, taking them out of a dark space and adding a positive element to their lives. Knowing that your dog relies on you can give you a sense of purpose and belonging and the way that your dog shows love and affection can add a positive impact on your life.

This type of distraction can also be applied to workplaces. Over the past 18 months there have been many businesses that have brought dogs into a workplace environment. Letting employees have a break from their work to play and spend time with canine colleagues can reduce stress and ultimately make them more proactive when they go back to work.

Companies such as Paws in Work offer both virtual and face-to-face specialist puppy therapy services for companies that are looking to combat stress, anxiety, improve staff well-being, morale, and team bonding.

We understand that not everyone can adopt a pet or have the option to have a pet. If this is the case then there are other health services available to support you, you are not on your own.



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