The isolation of lockdown has led to a dramatic increase in dog ownership . Harriet Pattison tells us about the many ways our pets bring us joy
Nellie joined us last May . A honey-coloured pup who loves to eat biscuits ( and slippers ). We ’ d been considering getting a dog for a while but an unexpected year of isolation sealed the deal .
Known to relieve stress , improve mood and combat loneliness , the benefits a pet can have on our wellbeing and mental health are well documented . Add in a pandemic , heightened anxiety and isolation , and it ’ s not surprising The Kennel Club reports that 91 % of long-term dog owners said their dog had a positive impact on their wellbeing during this time , with three in five citing their dog a “ lifeline ”. “ Dogs provide us with unconditional love , loyalty and companionship without any judgment , which has an immense positive impact on our mental health ,” says Bill Lambert , spokesperson for The Kennel Club .
Their daily demands of fresh air and exercise encourage us to get out and about , giving structure to our day and social interaction . By taking care of our pets , we ’ re inadvertently taking better care of ourselves . The simple joys Nellie finds in everyday life remind me to slow down and appreciate them , too . Whether that ’ s taking ten minutes between calls to throw her ball or enjoying a cuddle while the kettle boils .
I ’ ll admit , we didn ’ t always succeed in juggling training Nellie alongside work , but the unconditional love she shows us makes up for all the chewed slippers . She ’ s completely unfazed by the extra lockdown weight or the days spent in pyjamas . But as we embark on the long road back to normality , I wonder how we prepare our pets for this shift ? “ Building in brief periods spent apart helps prepare them for when we ’ re no longer at home with them all day . But dogs should never be left alone for more than four hours ,” says Bill . “ We hope to see the UK being as faithful to dogs as they are to us .”
For more information on post-lockdown life with a furry friend , visit thekennelclub . org . uk / openfordogs
“ The unconditional love that Nellie shows us makes up for all the chewed slippers ”
A SPECIAL PLACE FOR PETS Did you know Cotswold Company now sells a range of pet beds for your furry friends ? Luxury Rattan Dog Bed , medium , 414.002 £ 169 | Chester Dove Grey Storage Shelf and Hooks 620.083 £ 245 | Chester Dove Grey Open Shoe Storage Bench 620.065 £ 345
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