There is no denying that 2020 has been a different sort of a year that has brought some huge challenges with it. The importance of supporting good mental health is becoming more recognised but there is still a way to go. The suffering that social isolation has brought on our mental health during these times has been well documented and it seemed so appropriate to say thanks to a particular group that is helping so many people during these times. That group would be our pets! Considering they have become our constant companions and co-workers I couldn’t help but take this opportunity to appreciate our furry and feathered friends this World Mental Health Day who have been heroes when we needed them.
It may be that you have a keyboard loving cat who simply wants to be near you and thwarts your attempts at getting work done from home or a canine friend who has mastered the puppy eye look that you just cannot resist. There is no doubt working from home has taken some getting used to but they have been there for us to perk us up when things seem impossible and they raise a smile with their goofy antics and impossible capability for sleeping.
For me personally, my study and work buddy and all round amazing friend passed away and his absence magnified during these times. However, I have been lucky enough to enjoy the company of a neighbour’s beautiful dog, taking her on walks to help her owner and smile with amusement at her appreciation of each and every blade of grass on our walk! It is the pleasure they have in our company and the simple things in life that help us to deal with our own challenges (and the cuddles don’t harm either!). And it is not only our household animals who show us true compassion when we need a lift either, I often visit with a neighbour’s horses and enjoy the moment they come trotting over to see me for a little fuss (and some carrots). There is simply something amazing about the physical and mental benefits of being close to animals
People all over the country are appreciating how pets can help us in trying times and pet ownership has soared. So, this blog post wouldn’t be complete without words of encouragement to return the kindness our pets show to us by considering them when we return to work or if we will no longer be around as much.
On a final note, here are a couple of personal photos to show my best friend who will always be remembered for helping me through so many past difficulties (as well as many attempts to distract me from work and study!) and my new friend who I appreciate every time I see her tail way as she runs to greet me for our walk.
How will you thank the animals in your life for their unconditional support this World Mental Health Day?