Thursday, 5 July 2018

The effect of animals on our Mental Health

Ben shares his experience of having animals, and how they have benefitted his mental health. 
- Ben 

Since the day I was born, I have had an animal in my life, bar a short period at the end of 2015, and the love for an animal is never something I have taken for granted. Up until 2016, I had always had cats, guinea pigs, hamsters and even a caterpillar as a pet. Since 2016, we have had our beautiful ex-racing greyhound called Courtney, and these animals have a funny and instinctive way of cheering you up. They just seem to know when you’re feeling down and they seem to pop up and demand a cuddle.

As I’ve previously mentioned in other posts, Mental Health is something I’ve suffered with for a long time and I firmly believe that the pets I have had, have got me through the rough times. Whether that is when Sid, our beloved cat would just lie on my lap and meow until he got fuss, or even when he played on the fact my cousin was scared of him and he ran her ragged at family functions, much to all of our amusement. Sid in short was a SOD. The best kind of sod going, one to always keep us on our toes.

In 2016, when we had Courtney, I was a very aggressive person, constantly angry, feeling down and always shouting whenever I got the slightest bit frustrated. But suddenly, it changed. Courtney hated shouting and arguments. She would hide in her cage or on the bed and not even look at me because she was scared of me. This way, that dog has changed me to the calm, assured and more loving person I am today.

When I come home from work after a stressful day, her little face wanting to lick me and play with me, and the wagging little tail, seems to make all my worries and stresses fly away. She just wants a cuddle and wants to show that she loves me, and that feeling is unquestionably the best in the world. My family have a saying of, “Courtney makes a bad day, good, and a good day, amazing.” No doubt that saying is true. Not just of my pet but of the unconditional love animals show to the ones they love, which happens all over the world.

All of my pets have improved my life and made me the person I am today. Admittedly when I move out, I will miss not having my pup pup, but I know when I return home, she will make me feel better again.

Until next time,

Thankyou as always for reading,

Ben


I am an aspiring Primary School Teacher based in Shropshire, England. I was diagnosed with Autism in 2014 at 19 years of age and since then my journey to being a teacher started. I am a huge sports fan and a firm believer in exercise helping mental health and improving self esteem. I am passionate about everyone recognising their own individual talents.

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