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Pets comfort and support us in isolation, but do they really want to?

Pets spread love, joy and happiness to us humans. They support us through thick and thin. Life has been interesting, to say the least over the past few years and they’ve looked after us without complaint. Have you ever thought about if they really want to or are we putting them out. I know many of my clients who have pets feel like they can share their feelings openly and feel safe with their pet. They help them feel secure in sharing their feelings.

Our pets comfort us and supported us throughout the pandemic lockdowns, and we love being with them. We were and some or us are still locked in our homes with nowhere to go, nothing to do, and often living alone or with kids, who needed entertaining or schoolwork done. So we’ve cleared out the RSPCA and shelters of all the animals, dogs, cats, birds and rabbits. It was wonderful that all these animals got to be re-homed to lovely homes and people who loved them.

Daily benefits of having a pet

They give comfort when we’re down and love us unconditionally. Dogs are especially good at this. They’re especially good at listening with interest to whatever we say, we even give them human emotions or describe them as being happy, cranky, loving or fed. Dogs are very good at mirroring us. Kahlua often sits behind me in his comfy chair while I’m on Zoom calls with my clients. He pops his head up when he hears a change in voice, or crying. He tilts his head as if to say ‘are you okay? Can I comfort you?’ He might even come and sit on my knee for a while and settle the client. Nothing needs to be said. It’s magical to watch.

Pets are a companion. Another beating heart in your household. This past couple of years we’ve all experienced grief and loss. Some have had their lifelong partner ill or die, and, not allowed to see them at all because of the COVID restrictions. I’ve had many clients have their parents, partners, children or pets die, and are unable to have the normal rituals or traditions happen. It’s been a devastating couple of years for the world.

Studies were done

There’s been a few studies done on the benefits of pets from both sides – our side, and the side of pets. One study from the UK found that people who had pets before the pandemic really enjoyed being with their pet. However, those who bought a pet during the pandemic and probably didn’t know animals very well, found it more difficult to be with them. The ones who knew pets well were comforted, felt supported, and were more mentally and physically well. They exercised by walking their pets, felt needed, and had a purpose for living. The ones who hadn’t ever had a pet or not had one since childhood found it extremely difficult because puppy schools were closed down. And now we have uneducated rude dogs who don’t know they’re at the bottom of the pack, or family. These people were less mentally, emotionally and physically well because they felt frustrated and angry that their pet wasn’t doing what they wanted no matter how hard they tried.

The actual research

James Cook University surveyed 400 people. It found that cats are put out by their owners being home or during lockdown. The study by Dr. Jessica Olivia, found that almost all dog owners reported that their pets were happy with more owner time. But that experience was not echoed by cat owners. 50% of cat owners said that their cats acted in ways that made them think they were put out by their owner, being home all the time, whereas 100% of dog owners said that their dogs absolutely loved their extra attention and time with their owner. The benefits encouraged physical activity, mental well being and companionship.

Why Your Pets are a Vital Part of You Life

Now more than ever your pets are important especially at times like this, where we need to isolate ourselves as much as possible from other people. The world has been in lockdown for almost two years and mental heath is crucial and our pets might just be the answer.

Our companion and therapy dog, Kahlua

Kahlua has a wide smile (as is evident in this pic). He’s the life of the party, loves people and is very intuitive. He is everything to me moment because my husband is working 15 hours a day at one end of the house and I’m working down the other and we barely see each other.

Weird isn’t it. To be in the same house and see each other less than we ever have. You see when my husband started working from home, he needed to figure out the technology (which took him ages). There’s so much more to do and because he’s working, I work on my business.

Kahlua the alarm clock

It’s lonely for both of us but Kahlua is there to make us take breaks.

He knows when I’ve been working too long, he’ll sit alongside me and paw at my hand. I hear him say, “Come on Cait, you need to get outside for a while”. Of course the next part is, “Play with me in the backyard, COME ON”. We go outside, on the way we pick up my husband. We play for a while and I’ll make a cuppa and we sit outside and soak up the sun.

Spreading Sparkles and joy

I noticed I was anxious and my mood was down while I was doing an international talk on Zoom.

I want to sprinkle joy and happiness everywhere because I’ve had my down moments (days even!) and had to pick myself up and literally smell the roses. My garden is beautiful at the moment, after having devastating fires, then floods and now Covid-19 has visited the world.

Why I want to sprinkle joy and happiness

I was tagged by a good friend @jo_muirhead to share an image of ‘open.’

This is Kahlue waiting for a Zoom client. He sits behind me on a lounge chair and pops he’s head up whenever he’s needed.

Dog looking over woman's shoulder

My friend’s message

I want to share with you what Jo said, so here it is:

In this season of keeping each other safe we can start to feel very closed.

If we focus on everything that is shut or closed we will start to feel closed

We will become

Inward focused

Isolated

Myopic

And we start to believe the stories in our own heads

So, share with me a photo of open. Tag me in your post here on Instagram.

I invite you to tag me too. I love the idea of sharing joy during this time of uncertainty and lockdowns.

The wrap up

The Universe has shouted at us to, “Slow down”. What have you noticed in your life that you didn’t appreciate before?