Thursday 10th October is #WorldMentalHealthDay, so we are talking about how our furry friends play an important part in looking after our minds.

Our case study comes from James who lives in Watford, he explains how his former pets got him through difficult years as a teenager and young adult.

“When I was 10 years old I got obsessed with getting a dog, as lots of kids do! We found a cocker spaniel puppy who connected with us straight away, I remember him coming to say hello for the first time and I was in love instantly".

“I decided to call him Eddie, because I met a dog on holiday called Murphy and I was a fan of Eddie Murphy, I think it suited him”.

“Around the same time, my younger brother really wanted a cat. We got a white kitten, which he named Herbert. Bit of an odd name for a kitty, but I can’t imagine him with another name".

"Eddie and Herbert were soon settled together, both loving members of our family”.

“I suffered with really bad anxiety at secondary school, but it helped having Eddie in my mind to look forward to when I got home. He would always be delighted to see me. I was surprised at how empathetic he was. If I had a bad or stressful day, he would quietly approach me when I was sulking on the sofa, then calmly look up as if to say ‘Are you ok? How can I make you feel better’”.

“I discovered our cat to have a similar skill. He would love to join us on the sofa and purr away, I always found his company very relaxing.”

“Not only did they both help emotionally, but taking Eddie for long walks and holidays together was brilliant family time. We all got outside, socialized with other owners and benefitted from some great exercise.”

“Sadly we lost both of these pets a couple of years ago, but they lived long and happy lives and are forever in our memory. I’m very excited to get another pet because I know from experience they did wonders for my mental health.”

“It works both ways, humans are capable of making their animals happy and healthy in mind and body, sometimes the pet saves the person rather than the other way around!”

Do you have a story to share about your pet and mental health? Please share with us and we would love to see pictures or videos.

If you’re looking for a new companion who will contribute to a healthy mind, please see our rehoming pages