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Can pet ownership help combat loneliness?

Approximately nine million* people in the UK say they regularly feel lonely. The elderly in particular find themselves isolated from society.

However, research* also shows that this ‘epidemic of loneliness’ doesn’t discriminate, but it does intensify around certain holidays, including Valentine’s Day*.

From February 11th, as part of National Make a Friend Day, we are inviting everyone who sometimes feels lonely or isolated to pop in to a NAWT centre, where you can meet our teams and spend some time with the animals in our care, one of whom might turn out to be your new best friend.

Did you know 60 per cent* of single people in the UK buy a pet for companionship?

Of course not everyone is in a position to own a pet, but volunteering with rescues like the NAWT can also ease loneliness!

Volunteering will help those feeling lonely to interact with others and have more human social support.

Stroking, sitting next to or playing with a pet can give us a chance to relax and calm our minds. Caring for a pet also gives our day purpose and reward, and a sense of achievement. It helps us feel valuable and needed*. 

If signing up to be a volunteer seems like too big a commitment right now, don’t worry. You are still very welcome to simply spend time at the centre at your leisure and this can offer many similar benefits to volunteering. Our catteries and kennels are open to the public most days between 11am – 3pm and we invite you to feed and interact with the animals.

Just doing this offers every animal vital training; teaching them to associate visitors with good things. 

Both dog and cat owners indicate the most important benefit of pet ownership is companionship. 82.5 per cent of owners indicate that their pet has had a strong positive impact on their life*. 

Backing this up, Anchor's new research has found that 30 per cent of those aged over 65 think a pet reduces feelings of anxiety and 28 per cent believe they increase happiness. 

The majority of older pet owners said they rely more on their pets for company than they do on their friends, children or neighbours.
What are you waiting for? 

If you’re feeling lonely, or if you know someone who might benefit from simply spending time with our animals, re-homing a pet or joining us in a volunteering role, please visit one of our centres and bring your friends along.

We have six centres across the south of England that you can visit from 11am click here for their address details.

This Valentine’s Day, we’re inviting all to give rescue a chance, you might meet your next best friend! Contact your closest NAWT centre here

*According to British Red Cross, November 2018
* BBC’s Loneliness Experiment, October 2018 
*psychology today


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