• Benefits of Spending Time with Pets

    Do you have a pet or spend time with one? 

    Have you ever considered, with gratitude, the benefits that your interactions with a pet bring you?  Or how your bond with your animals positively affects them and the satisfaction and happiness you derive from that emotional connection? If you hadn’t spent time with a pet, have you ever wondered what it would be like? 

    For humans, research reveals numerous ways that their mental health potentially benefits from their bonds with pets. 

    These benefit all circle around the fact that people often experience spending time with their pets as a source of support, especially in times of hardship. Here are some of the profoundly important mental health benefits that we can experience from the human-pet bond (Mental Health Benefits of Pets – mhanational.org):

    • Pets alleviate our stress
    • Pets improve our mood and helps us fight depression
    • Pets reduce our loneliness
    • Pets improve our wellbeing
    • Pets provide long-term help for those with mental health challenges

    Click on the above article for details about the research behind these benefits, from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and Mental Health America (MHA). Ultimately, the research shows that, in good times and bad, we can turn to pets to help us find comfort, joy and support (HABRI & MHA).

    P.S. There are so many animals in shelters across the state just waiting for a caring human to be their family. Consider if you might be able to help one or more of these animals and, in turn, how a bond with them could boost your mental health. Of course, you must seriously consider whether you are willing and able to take on the responsibility of caring for a pet. 

    Here are links for several county animal shelters in the southeastern part of NJ where you can adopt a pet or, alternatively, volunteer to help care for the animals living there: Animal Shelter & Adoption Center | Cape May County, NJ – Official Website (capemaycountynj.gov), Animal Shelter – Public Health – Atlantic County Government (atlantic-county.org), Cumberland County SPCA & Animal Shelter – Vineland, NJ (Address and Phone) (countyoffice.org) and Animal Shelters and Adoptions – Ocean County Health Department (ochd.org). You can also surf the internet to find additional animal shelters in your region.

    Article by Kristin Littel