Although having a pet brings with it all sorts of responsibilities, one of the best reasons for having one is that it can make you feel better about ourselves. There is something comforting about having a pet waiting for us at home, nearly always glad to see us. Here are some ways that a pet can improve your mood.
Sense of belonging
Having a pet can turn a house into a home. This can be particularly important for those that live alone. A pet, no matter how small, can be something to talk to and can be incredibly comforting for those who spend most of their time without human contact. For those with family, a pet can bring the whole house together.
Feeling of being needed
Many people who suffer from depression state an animal in their care as being the reason that they get up in the morning. Pets need us to feed them and care for them, and in return, they provide unconditional loyalty. Having a pet snuggle up to us is an incredibly joyful feeling.
Stroking and handling animals can be incredibly therapeutic for those who are stressed. Research (http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2007/feb/08/workandcareers.medicineandhealth) has suggested that stroking or petting cats in particular can soothe and calm us down after a hard day at work.
For those who have dogs, horses, or other large animals, some form of exercise is going to be needed to keep them fit and healthy. Not only is this pleasing to animals, but the endorphins released by exercise helps to keep us happy and fit.
Teaches children to care
Having a pet can be a simple way of teaching children to care for something smaller and weaker than themselves. Of course, children should always be watched around pets – excessive teasing could result in an injury, but generally it is a positive experience for them.
Feeling of safety
Those who have dogs can rest assured that their homes are unlikely to be broken in to while the dog is there at least. Even a ‘beware of the dog’ sign on the gate could act as a deterrent. Cats can also be helpful – their hearing is so acute that often they will be aware of noises before you are. And we all know that safety goes hand in hand with comfort.
Most pets will provide hours of entertainment. Watching your cat chase its tail, or a dog race around the house like a mad thing will make you laugh, which is a sure-fire way of immediately improving your mood.
You should always weigh up your options carefully when thinking about having a pet. However, most people who have one agree that they are happier with them in their lives.