I have recently launched a Cat Campaign in my household. It is my firm belief that owning a cat will make both me and my single mother exponentially happier.
Pet therapy has widely been used to treat a variety of issues ranging from depression, Asperger's, ADHD and Empty Nest Syndrome. When her children left home for university, a family friend of mine reluctantly bought a dog to keep her company. Charlie the King Charles Cavalier proved to be this woman's saviour. During a period of intense loneliness and isolation, she was able to channel her need to nurture into her pet, with whom she shared an intense bond and an intimate silent language. She could interpret his needs by a series of signs that only she could read - the particular wag of his tale, a confused tilt of his head, or an agitated bark. Charlie and his owner built a level of friendship which has nourished them both for many years.
Simply put: pets make us smile. Their goofy mischievousness, innocence and playfulness can't help but be infectious. The physical presence of an animal not only helps rid feelings of loneliness, but also tangibly alters the hormones in our bodies. Merely stroking an animal floods us with oxytocin and feel-good endorphins, which do wonders for our emotional wellbeing.
The thousands of hours dedicated to hilarious pet footage on YouTube is testament to the fun and laughter which animals can bring to our lives, (you haven't lived if you've missed the baby sloth in a onesie video). Social media has allowed us to share our pet love like never before, with pet homages going viral, Twitter pictures do the rounds and Facebook even has it's very own off-shoot for pets which has launched this year. We are now able to share the joy of our pets with the world, via the internet. It's no just stroking them that helps; it seems that even through a screen, animals can be good for us - as the laughter caused by our playful pets releases the 'happy hormone'. The power of a smile cannot be underrated, and it looks like our pets can bring us buckets of them.