WORDS:: Chyka Keebaugh
PHOTOS:: Lisa Atkinson
There is nothing better than waking up next to a furry smiling face!
Fluffy hair, snoozy eyes and always up for a cuddle; my dogs are little bundles of love. Naughty for sure! But the amount of love they spread throughout my home makes up for all the naughtiness.
Our big babies have been part of the family for years now and I cannot imagine life without them. Milo is 12 years old & Ollie is 8 years old, both full of life and both busting for attention at every chance they get. Both stealing food and socks, and anything laying about for their own fun and games. Learning to take care of them has been a great tool for my kids. Feeding, washing & cleaning up after them are definitely chores the whole family should share and also teaches them that having pets in the home isn't all about snuggles on the couch. That's only half the time!
What I love most about the dogs is that they make me get out of the house. I can come home so tired, and after one quick look at their little faces I am forced to get them out for a run, and as much as I'd like just to sit down and relax, I always feel so much better for it. It’s a no brainer why pets are so good for our mental health; they can love and support us unconditionally. They are always available for a chat, a cuddle and an evening in the park.
A list of ways animals can improve your mental health…
- They get you moving. You are forced to get out and notice the environment around you. Breathing in the fresh air and basking in the sun, that can only mean good things for your mood and body.
- They lessen allergies and build immunity. The more fur you are surrounded by when growing up, the less likely you are to become allergic.
- Rhythmic patting of your pet can reduce stress. Had a stressful day? Take a deep breath and pat your dog. Have a chat while you at it! You’ll feel calmer in no time. Pets are great listeners, and they don’t talk back, so it’s even better - no unwanted opinions from them!
- They will help you enjoy the ‘NOW’. A few things on your mind? Pets can distract and take your mind off any problems you have, sure it won’t solve them, but a distraction is always welcome if it lets you relax for a short while.
- They ease loneliness. Being with your pet when you are feeling a little sad and alone is a great support. I find that my dogs know when I am not feeling the best and follow me about like beautiful little shadows, it’s their way of supporting me. Taking them out for walks will also force you to interact with other dog owners, make new friends and stay in touch with your community.
- They are fun! You can play games with them, hang out with them and even cook them special meals. Because really, what is more fun than throwing your pet a party?