During this Mental Health Month it’s a good time to be reminded of the benefits of owning a pet.
Pets make excellent companions and they are great for removing stress – research shows that pets can also have calming effects on their owner. Just by stroking, sitting next to or playing with a pet gives a human a chance to relax and calm their mind and reduce blood pressure. Even watching fish swimming in an aquarium reduces stress.
Pets can be affectionate, accepting, loyal, honest and consistent. If you feel isolated with little support, a pet can help reduce your loneliness and can fulfil a human need to touch.
A pet can provide you with a sense of purpose, which helps improve mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. If you have a pet, you are never alone and you are also responsible for looking after them.*
An Echo reader recently told us that she had lost her cat of more than 16 years and she was having trouble coping with the silence in her house. ‘I didn’t realise until she died that on some days, the only voice I heard was mine talking to her. When she passed away, the house became so quiet.’
Enter the Pets for Life Animal Shelter Inc. in Billinudgel.
Ginger puss Theo didn’t know what he was in for when he opened his eyes to a new day on the weekend. A lovely fellow, he was handed over to the Billinudgel Vet mid August – he was starving and very confused.
Puss soon proved to have a friendly nature and the ability to get on with others which meant he was able to free-range at the Pets For Life shelter housed above the vet’s surgery in Lucky Lane.
On the Sunday, after weeks of deliberation, our reader paid a visit to the shelter and after carefully choosing, left with this little man. This was a win-win for the human and the little red head.
Pets for Life along with Companion Animals Welfare Inc. in Brunswick Heads and Animal Welfare League in Mullumbimby, were inundated with animals over the winter period. Many more animals were surrendered than is usual in that time period.
‘A lot of them were surrendered due to increasing rental pressures,’ says Pets for Life president Jean. ‘Animals are not allowed in most rentals in Byron Shire. Do think carefully about adopting an animal if you’re in a rental property. It’s a lifetime commitment – cats can live til they’re in their 20s and some dogs can live to 15 or longer.’
Jan says the kitten season is coming up now and owners with undesexed male and female cats are urged to have their animals de-sexed before cats become pregnant. ’It’s becoming more difficult to re-home kittens because of the rental situation and kittens grow up quickly,’ she says. ‘It’s important to have male cats neutered as well as females because one male can impregnate a lot of females!’
If you’re interested in adopting an animal please check out the Echo’s Pet classies and the appropriate websites for more information.
If you would like more information about Mental Health Month, visit the website.
* If you are really struggling to look after yourself, then talk to your doctor before you take on caring for a pet.
Nate and Sweetie are waiting to lavish their feline love on you. Photos Tree Faerie