Can pets help people with mental illness?

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Pets can play a major role for people who struggle with mental illness. Having a pet can benefit a person’s mental health and well-being. An animal can do so much more than many think: pets of all different kinds offer much more than just companionship. They always seem to be there for their owners, especially when they are going through hard times. These animals can have positive social, mental, and physical effects. Therefore, people of all ages can benefit from owning a pet. 

From what I’ve read and experienced, dogs are the best animal companions. Dogs have been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Their companionship can help ease loneliness, and most are a great stimulus for healthy exercise which can help with depression. Dogs seem to help more than any other animal as they are more trainable, use the bathroom outside, can protect you, and promote a more active lifestyle. Dealing with trauma and mental illness alone can be a daunting process, but having a dog can bring comfort and recovery. Dogs are supportive, loyal, and friendly no matter how challenging times are. When you have a dog, you can also become more present and mindful in certain situations. Being around dogs or even pets in general can also lower the stress hormone, cortisol, which helps to reduce feelings of anxiety and can boost your mental health.

Though having dogs can help with mental health, there are a lot of responsibilities when it comes with having pets.This includes feeding, grooming, and making sure they are getting exercise. Dogs will need regular walks, which in a way allows you to get exercise as well. Going outside and getting some fresh air is great for mood. Dogs are a perfect way of meeting new people and even maintaining relationships. The routine of taking your dog out can actually help you form more solid relationships with other people. It can help you be more social and make new friends. Having a dog around can help put you at ease while also pushing you out of your comfort zone. In this way, they have the capability to encourage you to face things that give you anxiety, proving how much of an impact the unconditional love of a dog can have on anyone struggling. 

Pets can help lead people to a more happy and healthy lifestyle. If you’re someone who struggles with mental health, then getting a pet may have a big impact on your life. 

Coming from experience, I have a dog named Petrie and he has helped me a lot. He comforts me and cheers me up. Just going outside and walking him makes me feel better. Petrie is very protective and makes me feel safe. I’ve gone through a lot and he has been there for me every step of the way. He may just be a dog but he is also my best friend.

Julianna Munoz is a senior at Washington High School. She grew up in Fremont and this is her first year at the paper. Her interests include art, especially painting and drawing. She also loves to shop online, to bake and to write, as well as spending time with her eight animals. After she graduates Julianna will go to college and study art, though she is also interested in acting.

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