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World Mental Health Day 2020 - How our pets improve our mental wellbeing

For this year’s World Mental Health Day (Saturday 10th October 2020), we want to share some of your touching stories about how your pets have helped you with mental challenges and illness.

1) Rebecca and Piglet

When Piglet the guinea pig first came to NAWT Watford, she was called Marmalade. Rebecca, one of our animal care assistants, recalls when she came into her life:

“I asked my manager Jackie if I could foster her, so I would have some company in the evenings. Even though I live with 3 other people, life can still get pretty lonely”. 

“A few weeks later, my parents surprised me with the adoption paperwork for her. I was so happy that I cried”.

“It’s amazing to think that such a little creature could make such a huge difference to my life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her. Waking up to her cheeky little face every morning, and having someone to come back to at the end of the day has really helped me through the last few months”.

“A day never ends badly with Piglet, she always makes me laugh and smile! Especially when I’ve made her evening vegetables, coming into the room to see her, feet on her food bowl ready and squeaking at me happily”.

“It may sound crazy, but when I talk to her about my day, she chats back. I feel so blessed to have her in my life, I could never be without her”.

 

2) Veronica, Bob and Gordon

Gordon is a staffie who had experienced cancer, but he was treated successfully by the team at Trindledown Farm (NAWT Berkshire). He was then discovered by Veronica and her husband Bob, who took an immediate shine to him.

“We also adopted our previous dog Sonny from Trindledown, but unfortunately we lost him to cancer. This affected us because we no longer had the canine company when we went out for walks together in the morning”.

“Then one day we drove to the Trindledown rescue centre. It was there we saw Gordon, who had a look in his eyes that said he needed love and wanted someone to take him”.

“We knew we could afford any treatment he would need, being as he was in remission, and the condition may come back”.

“Pretty soon we had Gordon in our lives. Our morning walks were now more brisk and upbeat, the two heads of Bob and Gordon were bobbing along happily!”

“Gordon would go straight to his dad. He was eagerly learning tricks, like shaking hands, walk round to heel, and more. He loves to get into our bed at night, on his back with his feet in the air”.

“So who rescued who? Our Gordon has given us more than any doctor could!”

 

3) Sheila and her 4 dogs

Sheila is the proud owner of four rescue dogs, who do a great job of keeping her happy and calm:

“Our dogs are part of the family, and a very big part of our lives. We have more dog beds in our house than seats for humans!”

“They all have a fantastic calming effect on us, I find that half an hour with one of my dogs on my lap is the most effective solution to a stressful day”.

“They are never moody or temperamental and they provide us with a routine and timetable, which gets us out in the fresh air twice a day. They bring soul to the house, it is impossible to imagine life without them.” 

 

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