Whether you currently have a pet or don’t. Having some animal time can be really beneficial to your mental health. Our furry friends are excellent models for how we can love another being unconditionally, even if they have smashed/ knocked over something important! If only we could extend the same amount of compassion to our pets as we do to the humans in our lives….or even more radical, ourselves!
As a biased pet parent, I can vouch for the positive impacts of the level of responsibility and companionship she has added to my world. There is nothing more heart warming than your pet welcoming you home.
When we have pets we automatically increase our social interactions, whether its with the vet, your neighbor who is suddenly interested or the people wandering in the park who want to meet and pet your pooch unapologetically.
Spending time with animals can be so soothing for the soul, and gives us that tactile feedback to ground us in the present moment. Connecting with animals also allows us to get in touch with that playful side of ourselves as we are entertained by their high jinks.
I haven’t always been in a position to have a pet at home, so I found creative ways to factor in some time with animals. Many big cities now have cat cafes, which are a fun and unique way of getting some kitty time. Although, any petting of cats will be on their terms of course, the ultimate lesson in consent. Cats are amazing at setting boundaries, dogs have some work to do!! In countries like Turkey or Greece, you don’t have to go to such exclusive places, cats are just roaming around and are taken care of by everyone.
Volunteering @thecinnamontrust was also a way I have managed to connect with neighbours who need support with cat care or dog walking. This was a great way to help out people in need, whilst also satisfying that need for some interactions with pets. https://cinnamon.org.uk/
@trustedhousesitters is a fab way of spending time with pets either in your local area or while exploring a new place. Caring for pets whilst on a break can be a fabulous experience. I have had the pleasure of caring for so many gorgeous cats and dogs around the world at this stage. It’s a great exchange, which works well for both parties. I’ve attached a referral link below, where you and I would both receive 25% off if you decided to join.
Borrow my doggy is also a fantastic site that allows you to befriend dogs, take them for walks and spend time with them. I met so many people in the parks when taking dogs for walks, there is such a community amongst dog people. https://www.borrowmydoggy.com/
How can you create more space in your life for our furry friends? This could allow you to have a deeper connection with nature, yourself and a new community. If these are new concepts for you, I encourage you to try them out!