Mental Health & Pets
Mental health has become such an important topic this year with celebrities like Avicii, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain committing suicide due to depression. These are just a few celebrity cases that we’ve read about recently – there have been many before and there will be many after.
This is not just about celebrities – I called them out because we have been reading about them in the papers. This is about a hundred other people who have commit suicide every day. They could be a veteran who smiled at you on the streets, a coworker who is the funniest person at work, a family member who never shared their thoughts, a friend who hung around you and had fun but went home alone and sad. If you see someone suddenly quiet, sad and alone, REACH OUT!
Depressed people might find it hard to reach out and ask for help. In some cases, they don’t even realize that they are depressed until one day, they decide to kill themselves. That means, we have to make an effort to reach out to them. You have nothing to lose by being nice to someone – that also includes a stranger you’ve never met before. You could be the last string of hope they needed to hang onto life.
And please don’t resort to drugs and alcohol to solve your problems. They never solve anything, they just bring in new problems. Your life is too valuable to let these toxins take over.
So what’s the solution? Dogs!
Actually.. pets in any shape or form can help. Not only have thousands of dog owners shared their stories battling depression and how their dogs or ESAs helped in the healing process; but there is a lot of scientific proof that shows that dogs can help in maintaining a good mental health.
Here’s what you need to know about dogs & mental health:
1. Dogs Help Make Your House A Home
Research shows that loneliness is a major reason behind suicides. With relationships breaking up easily, elderly left to fend for themselves etc., loneliness is very common in the modern world.
When you don’t have a family or loved one, get a dog. They faithfully wait for you at home every single day with a wag in their tail and many kisses to give. They won’t leave you – they don’t have a job that’ll take them away, new friends or family that they’ll trade for you. They’ll rather be in your home forever. All they need is love in your heart and some food in their belly. That’s why it is unconditional love!
2. Dogs Can Be Your 24/7 Therapists
You might need to talk to a real therapist during the day but when you have a dog, it’s your personal 24/7 therapist. When my day is going bad & I happen to come back to an empty home, I start opening my heart up to Leo. I know that makes me sound like a crazy dog lady but that really helps me and to each his own, right?
Dogs can’t talk or console us but when they look deeply into your eyes and lick your face or even come cuddle up on your lap, it can change your world. You feel like you have someone to listen to you, someone who cares, someone who needs you. It gives many a purpose to live, when they feel like they have none left.
3. Petting Your Dog Helps With Mental Health
Petting your dog can release oxytocin, causing lesser stress and anxiety in both you and your dog.
Brush and groom your dog every day – not only is it hygienic for the dog but it also helps to keep your home and your mind clean. Watching your dog enjoy getting petted and paw’ing you for more will only keep you distracted from thinking about unnecessary things.. even if it is for a little while.
4. Dogs Help Improve Your Social Life
You’ll be surprised at how many people stop Leo and me on our walks to pet him and say hello. I’ve made so many new friends this way. Imagine how effective this will be if you live alone or find it hard to make friends. This is a great way to talk to strangers, make connection and put a smile on their face as well as yours.
Posting photos of your dog on social media also help make your pup #instafamous and you a proud and popular pet photographer or blogger or influencer. Tap into it!
5. They Get You Outdoors For Some Exercise
Walking your dog also keeps you physically fit and this can further enhance your mental health. Getting some fresh air & sun can elevate your mood and give you energy to beat an array of health issues like Vitamin D deficiency, allergies, obesity, heart attacks, high blood pressure and offcourse.. depression.
While you are out, try to enjoy nature and cherish your surroundings – stop to smell the roses, literally! Learn to find joy in the little things in life and they’ll keep you happy and healthy for a very long time.
We can always find something to hold on to so taking your life is never the answer – it might look like it is but you are too young (at any age) to leave the earth before nature wants you to. If you ever feel suicidal, please talk to a family, a friend, a coworker, your doctor or chat anonymously with an expert at National Suicide Prevention Lifeline here.
Take care of yourself, lovely people! Here’s another picture of Leo, as a puppy, to cheer you up today.
PS: For more touching pet stories, keep following our blog. You can also follow us on social media @taleinthetail on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & Tumblr. Leo promises to cheer you up every single day. Woof! 🙂