Pets and Mental Health

Hannah Larson
Staff Writer

PC: Hannah Larson

Everyone goes through stressful periods in their life whether that being caused by school, work or some other experience. How do people combat these tense moments? One answer is pets, they do more than just being your cuddle buddy. 

In an article, “Pets and Mental Health”, several benefits are mentioned that come from taking care of an animal. “Pets are also a great motivator for people.” They give people a sense of purpose that might come simply from walking a dog or showing affection to a pet. 

A survey from the same article concluded the positive effects that come from owning a cat. The data was collected from a group of 600 participants who experienced mental illnesses: 87 percent of respondents said that owning a cat positively affected their wellbeing while 76 percent said pets helped them manage their stressors better. Pets have a definite impact on an owner’s outlook on life. 

Patrick Boucher, a student at Norwich University, was personally asked about pets in his own household. “…I’ve always had a pet of some kind, even at some points having up to about ten pets,” he continued, “It’s extremely difficult not having a pet at school…College can be a very stressful time for most if not anyone… Throughout high school, my pets simply being around me, actually helped me focus more and get work done.” 

Boucher was then questioned about his views on how pets help those with a mental illness. He responded, “I think pets are a phenomenal way of helping people with their mental illnesses. They give us an outlet for our feelings that we’ve internalized or are less likely to show. That kind of cathartic release is imperative to people coping with mental illnesses.” 

Boucher concluded, “I tend to rely on my pets as calming mechanisms whenever I have the chance to be around them. Regardless of if I’m stressed or not, they always allow me to be far more comfortable and worry less.” 

Pets have positive associations with helping to fight daily stressors. They offer emotional support as well as companionship. As stated in the previous article, “A pet can be a great source of comfort, companionship and motivation for their owners. In many ways, pets can help us to live healthier lives.”



Categories: Features

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