You might be going through a rough time, such as the death of a loved one or a divorce. The stress, at times, seems difficult to tolerate. You want to find a way to deal with the stress effectively, but you’re uncertain of what your options might be. Then, on your daily walk, you spot a dog, and you wonder if this is the stress-reliever you’ve been looking for.
Psychologists tell us that pets can be quite beneficial to our mental health. They can provide unconditional love in a time of uncertainty. They can help to distract us from the problems of the day, giving us a new reason to go on living. And it can be quite therapeutic caring for an animal.
One obvious advantage to owning a pet is companionship. A dog or cat will always be at your heel, no matter what kind of tumultuous events you face in your life. Animals tend to be content with very little, so you don’t have to spend a great deal of time trying to please your pet.
Just petting an animal’s fur can be a good means of reducing stress. The feel of the fur can awaken in you memories of simpler times, when your stress level was much lower. It’s possible that having a pet around could even reduce your heart rate or your blood pressure.
If you owned a pet when you were young, you should not be too stressed out about caring for an animal. As long as you provide the basics—food, water, shelter, play time, and regular trips to the veterinarian, your animal should be happy and healthy. If you decide to buy a dog, your regular walks with your canine companion can be quite therapeutic. There is something so relaxing about walking a dog, especially on a crisp autumn day. You might find that the walks help you to “clear your head,” making it easier for you to cope with your problems.
When looking for a pet, you want your search to be as stress-free as possible. Talk to friends and neighbors and see if they know of anyone who’s selling or giving away a pet. You might also consult your local newspaper for ads for pets for sale. You might also consider rescuing a pet from a pound. It can be quite rewarding, knowing that you helped to save a life.
If you don’t want to have to spend so much time caring for a pet, you might consider a cat, a canary, or even a goldfish. Any pet can brighten your home, helping you to keep stress at bay. You might find that your outlook brightens as soon as you bring a pet into your home.
Say you’ve never owned a pet before. You might initially be concerned about how well you will fare as a pet-owner. In such a case, it’s helpful to educate yourself. Check out books from your local library on pet care, or see if your local humane society offers informational packets. The better educated you are, the more prepared you will be to be a pet owner.
If you live in an apartment that does not permit pets, you might consider pet-sitting at someone else’s home. This can be a welcome break from your normal routine, helping to alleviate your stress. You might also consider volunteering to walk a friend’s or relative’s dog. You’ll experience the fulfillment of volunteering your time—and you’ll make a new animal friend in the process.
In time, you might find that your pet becomes a part of your family—a treasured companion in good times and bad. You’ll learn to recognize your pets’ likes and dislikes, and you’ll probably forge a strong bond. In time, you might decide to add another dog or another cat to the family. Holiday time and other celebrations can become more festive with a pet in the house. In addition, you should find that your stress level decreases a great deal, having a pet around to keep you company. Just having a creature there to entertain you can be quite therapeutic. You may be amazed at the changes you’ll undergo, as you become accustomed to being a pet owner.