Owning a pet can be a life-enhancing experience and can offer many positive benefits for those living with a disability.
Pets can help to reduce levels of stress, anxiety and depression.They can offer a sense of purpose and an opportunity to exercise care for something outside of ourselves - they can be one of the best distractions at times!
Pets are non-judgemental, love unconditionally and offer comfort through companionship and help to reduce feelings of loneliness.
Playing, caring or interacting with a pet can help raise our levels of serotonin and dopamine, which combined can help soothe and calm our state of being, support a better night's sleep and regulate our moods, helping us to feel good.
Some pets to consider:
Dogs - Dogs especially can provide a sense of security, and are loyal furry friends, that are almost always happy to see us. Service and therapy dogs can also perform essential tasks for disabled individuals, they can offer new opportunities for independence, like retrieving a dropped item for example.
Cats - Cats require a little less maintenance than dogs, but also offer wonderful companionship, loved to be stroked and are equally good listeners if you need someone to share your ideas with.
Fish - Fish are slightly simpler to care for than other pets. Not only do fish offer a beautiful aesthetic in a room, but they also provide a sense of calm through observation. Watching a fish tank is can help to relief anxiety and stress. Research has shown that watching a fish tank for at least 30 minutes a day slows your heart rate, helps you relax and makes you less tense.
Whether it's a dog, cat, fish or another variety of pet you choose, pets can support us to live more in the present moment, provide us with a sense of purpose and calm, and provide some of the best companionship for those with living a disability.