It’s a known fact that pets have always been a great comfort to their owners. From working in a hospice this shouldn’t come as a surprise due to the amount of pets we have regularly seen visiting their loved ones, not forgetting the huge impact our pet therapy dogs make to our patients and the visits over the years from many animals such as donkeys and alpacas!
I believe they say that stroking or hugging a loving animal can calm and soothe you when you are feeling stressed or anxious – which is so true. But not only that, having an animal as a pet does wonders for your mental health and well-being. Having something to care for gives you focus, having the company if you are alone or feeling low makes you feel whole again, and having something so happy to see you – even if you’ve only been gone for 5 minutes is just something else.
We rehomed our Beaglier Gloria when she was 7 months old last summer; she had already had 2 homes from being a young pup which I still can’t get my head round – as she’s just fabulous. I honestly can’t remember life before Gloria, she has definitely got me through this last year.
Working from home can be a challenge, but Gloria makes it so much easier, she has such a funny character – despite her barks at parcels arriving or wheelie bins being moved. If my favourite song comes on, she doesn’t mind me forcing her to dance with me in the kitchen, she occasionally jumps up as I’m working just to say hello and she’s appeared on many Zoom and Teams meetings, hopefully making other people in those meetings smile. She also gets me out for more walks than ever and is officially now my running buddy. That extra fresh air has definitely been a factor behind improving my own mental health well-being.
Gloria and I have even signed up to take part in the Manchester Virtual Walk together!
On days when I am in the hospice, when I arrive home (or pick her up from her grandma’s) she gives me the biggest jumps, kisses and makes the cutest cries of pure happiness at seeing me – which just takes any kind of stress away. If I am ever feeling down, she gives the best cuddles, sometimes I think she just knows when you’re upset. She’s the best thing in the world.