When Boris Johnson addressed the nation on 4th January 2021 announcing that England would start a third lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic I felt very apprehensive and concerned about how it would affect me, family and friends.
COVID-19 has affected so many people, the tragic loss of life, impacts of lockdown and the loneliness, not to mention the economic crisis that it’s causing. Some people are luckier than others with how it’s affecting them personally and their circumstances.
Pets in our lives can certainly help us through any lockdown and in particular dogs. I’m very lucky to have both dogs and horses and they both help me get through each day.
As none of us have ever been through a global pandemic before we have found that having a dog in our homes has been very comforting, bringing normality to a strange world. The Tails.com - Dogs Difference Study - in April 2020 says “how dogs in particular have become attuned to our emotions and have been helping us cope with the stresses and strains of lockdown living!”
With this lockdown being in the middle of winter it could be harder for people to cope but I have found, like many pet owners, that my 3 dogs really help me through the restrictions of both lockdown and winter.
Pets can support our mental health, reducing loneliness and anxiety. Supervet, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick explains that “the unconditional love of a pet can help ease stress and pain – no matter what is going on in your life”
Talking to other dog owners they have said that by having a dog it gives them a reason to get out of bed in the morning and that motivation to exercise them whatever the weather or what is going on around us. Dogs add meaning and purpose to our lives in uncertain times.
A dog in the house can lift our moods just by some of the cute and crazy things they do, games they play or just by being at our side.
But just like we need structure and routine so do our pets and whilst lockdown has altered the way we live our lives don’t forget how that may affect your pet. If your pet’s behaviour alters there are many places where you can get some help particularly if you are fairly new to owning a pet.
In the last 12 months we have all certainly been through a vast range of emotions and I personally feel that my dogs have helped me through it, even with the devastating loss of one of my Labradors, Twizzle, in April 2020 with an in-operable cancer at just 8 years old and then the joys of welcoming new pup, Rosie, to our family in June. Rosie was born exactly a week after we lost Twizz and strangely she does seem to have a few Twizzle traits in her. So we believe she has a guardian angel – lets hope to show her the right way.
There is one thing I am certain of I never need to be on the sofa on my own, there’s always a willing Labrador to cuddle up with and my house will never be empty whatever is going on in the world.