The importance of pets helping combat Loneliness.

by Will Hunt

The importance of pets helping combat Loneliness.

Ask any pet owner and they’ll boast that pets enrich their lives. In fact, we witness this every time we see people out walking their dogs. Of course, our human-animal bond isn’t a recent thing, it goes way back thousands of years; the domestication of Egyptian cats in grain stores, and the breeding of dogs to assist humans in various activities providing two of the best examples.

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This bond is also supported by scientific research which, unsurprisingly, constantly proves and reinforces that this mutually beneficial relationship between people and pets results in happier, healthier lives for both parties. This became very apparent during the pandemic with millions of pets being acquired, often overpriced and from questionable sources, just to provide comfort, joy, and emotional support for humans during lockdown.  

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The main biological benefits pets generously give us include relieving stress, lowering heart rates and blood pressure, plus helping us become physically active; directly reducing the risk of mortality, and even helping us cope with physical and emotional situations, including pain. By providing companionship and unconditional love pets help us fight depression, improve our mood and outlook, facilitate healing, increase resiliency, plus bring distraction. Research has even shown that dog and cat owners laugh more daily than people without pets.

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Inability to leave the house is a common symptom of loneliness, so having to walk a dog once or twice daily encourages outside physical fitness, lowers rates of obesity, and increases the frequency and likelihood of real life human-human interactions. Indeed, having a dog by your side is often the ultimate conversation starter, igniting connections, thus reducing feelings of social isolation.

Staying home with a cat, rabbit, or any other furry or feathered friend also offers a degree of companionship and interaction, including fulfilling daily routines, which can all help support and manage long-term mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and loneliness. However some people miss their pet, and can request our Four-Legged Friend Service. We have volunteers who are happy to bring along their befriending dog for a visit through our befriending service!

Family and friends aren’t always available so let us arrange a regular visitor to brighten your week.

As we get older, or struggle to get out and about, we can feel a bit isolated or lonely. Having a weekly visitor can be really comforting. Someone to chat to and share memories with, someone to share a joke and a laugh with and to help with that tricky jigsaw!

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We have checked and trained befriending volunteers who visit many local North Cotswold residents.

There is no reason to feel lonely or isolated. Call us on 01608 652019 to find out how we can help.


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