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Pets and mental health: Do they really go hand-in-hand?

To celebrate #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, we’re going to share your touching stories about how your pets have helped you overcome mental challenges and illness.
It has been found in recent studies* pets can help with stress and loneliness, improve productivity and calm anxiety.
1. Megan and Newt
Megan re-homed Newt from our Watford centre back in 2016, she said: “Newt is unlike any other cat.
“He’s completely changed my life, he’s part of the family and he’s made me so much happier.”
2. Laura, Ethel and Billy
Laura has two dogs, Billy and Ethel – she explains: “Billy helped me work through and overcome depression.
“I don’t have any human children but he is the furry equivalent. Ethel was re-homed from NAWT not that long ago and she has fitted into my life perfectly.
Billy and Ethel
“I love watching her personality shine through more each day.”
3. Matt and Alice
Matt re-homed his cat Alice from our centre in Langport, Somerset five years ago and he’s never looked back.
He said: “I knew I wanted to re-home rather than get a kitten, and Alice stood out straight away. She’s such good company and now I’m never on my own.”
Matt and Alice
4. Alex and Pumba
Alex re-homed Pumba almost nine months ago from our Watford branch, after she was brought in as an unloved stray.
She said: “I’ve always known that I wanted a dog once my lifestyle would allow me to care for one, but I didn’t ever imagine how much she would change my life.
"It’s almost impossible to be sad or angry in Pumba’s company, she just needs to look up at me with those big brown eyes of hers and life is good. She’s such an active dog that I can no longer get away with lazy Sundays – Pumba is raring to go out and explore the world whatever the day, whatever the weather!
"So she keeps me physically fit and healthy but there’s also something wonderful about taking an hour out of a busy day to take a peaceful stroll with your pooch, where you can clear your mind and let your happy little dog show you how to enjoy the world around you.”
5. Jacquie and Libby
Libby is a gorgeous 13-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross who means a lot to Jacquie and her whole family.

She explains: "For me Libby is a very important part of our family. She is treated like a member of our family and is often looked after by her ‘siblings’ when I am away from home.

"She brightens even the gloomiest of days and I am sure I would never get a better welcome when she sees me. Libby has always been around my children at home and now my grandchildren are enjoying her too.

"When my father was alive she was the reason he made the effort to get dressed in the morning." 

Would you like to re-home a pet? Visit your local centre to meet your next best friend. All our contact details are here, or you can browse the animals currently looking for homes here.
*University of Manchester – How Pets Alleviate Stress and Loneliness
Workthere – How Pets in the Office Can Increase Productivity 
Stanford University – How Pets Can Calm Those With and Without Anxiety Issues

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