“Why do people all over the world find solace from cat videos and dog Instagram accounts? It’s because animals soften our souls, appealing to some purer, loving part of ourselves. It’s an inexplicable human-animal bond, enduring friendships and emotional support, which many humans struggle to find in other humans. They brighten so many people’s lives, with an estimated 67% of U.S. households (or 84.9 million homes) owning a pet.
These bonds can be greater still between a person living with mental illness and their pet. In one study, 60% of people with chronic mental health conditions considered their pets to be as important as family members. The healing power of our little friends can be indescribable.
This was the case with my dearly departed cat Dude. Way back when I got him, I could have never imagined the critical, pure loving role that he would come to play in coping with my severe depression. He sensed it, and he lived it with me. He never left my side even when everyone else did. He never left me all alone. He rescued me many times in his instinctive caring way. I’d speak to him in the depths of my depression: “You love me, you’ll always love me no matter what,” and I’d hear his silent response.
Many pets have a natural talent to support us, and they can play a valuable role in addressing mental health issues.”
For more on the benefits of the human-animal bond, click HERE.
Story source: NAMI