The The-Puppy Puppy-/ /-Kitten Kitten-Medicine Medicine-
When the best cure is a four-legged friend.

Person stroking catPerson stroking cat
In a seemingly effortless manner, pets manage to bring all the best emotions and feelings into our lives. They emphasise our highs, comfort us on our lows, and are always there for us no matter what. The eternal compassion and empathy pets possess is both beautiful and contagious. This article, which is filled with real stories from pet owners, takes a look at how our pets positively impact our lives and rub off on us - not just in the form of their fur malting on our trouser leg, but on a more emotional level.
Written by: Louis Crust
Read time: 9 min

Last month we looked at the puppy/kitten blues, which delved into the dark side of new pet ownership: the initial feelings of worry and regret. If you haven’t read it yet, spoiler alert, there was a happy ending to it. That happy ending is the light at the end of the tunnel, where the blues disappear, all the positive colours and emotions take over, and getting a new puppy/kitten is the best thing in the world. This article is all about that light.

We reached out to a number of different communities of pet owners and got some heartfelt first-hand stories of how their pets have had a positive impact on their lives. Stories where pets have helped with feelings of happiness, mental health issues, meeting new people, and their contagious nature, where the owners have learnt to be more compassionate and empathetic themselves.

Splinter is probably the most intuitive dog I've met. He picks up my anxiety and will always find a way of comforting me. Usually by laying on me, asking to walk or playing. He is the perfect companion to help me focus on something other than the anxiety.
- Simònne, owner of a 5-year-old French bulldog cross schnoodle

Even the simplest gesture from a pet, like cuddling up or asking for a walk, can have a beautiful impact on mental health.

To say that my beloved cockapoo, Kingston, is my best friend is an understatement. He is my life. Kingston came into my life 13 years ago and just before that I was diagnosed with Adult ADHD. He has been my absolute rock.
- Coralie, owner of a 13-year-old cockapoo
I suffer from long term depression and anxiety and my youngest daughter has severe mental health illness but Floyd has taken everything in his stride. When my daughter is in melt down shouting and crying our beautiful boy will climb up to her level and kiss the tears away he will lay on her to make her feel safe and will not move no matter what. His empathy towards people is immense and seems to know no bounds. If I am sad Floyd will lay with me curled up behind my knees looking at me for hours if need be. He know when and how to make us laugh and is a really sensitive soul lock down would have been unbearable without him my best friend my constant companion my stress toy my hot water bottle my dog is the best medicine in the world he makes my days brighter even on my darkest days
- Sue, owner of a 2-year-old German shorthaired pointer cross
After suffering for a long time with my mental health and then heading into the national lockdown due to the coronavirus I decided I was going to get a dog. I adopted Buddy 4 months ago and since then I haven't stopped smiling from the knowledge that my Buddy is always there when I want to talk (yes I talk to my dog, he's a very good listener I'll have you know).
- Adam, owner of a 3-year-old bichon frise

And, despite the life-changing commitment owning a puppy or kitten involves, we believe you’d struggle to find an owner who doesn’t say it’s worth it.

We have had Storm 5 weeks and honestly she’s helped me personally with my mental health. We lost my mum over a year ago and I’ve struggled a lot with trying to cope in day to day life and developed anxiety. But getting our baby girl has made me feel like myself again (even though it’s hard work and tiring), she certainly has brought me back out from a dark place. Being with her every day makes me smile and feel so happy, she’s definitely the happiness we all needed back in our lives.
- Lisa

Their wagging tails and loud purring are enough to remind us to go easy on ourselves, to not get overwhelmed by what's going on in the world, and, for some people, a great grounding for when worries and anxieties try and take over.

I've always had bad anxiety and she was helping me re-ground. Now I love my sofa naps with her, cuddled up and fluffy. She always cheers me up and makes me laugh with her quirky moments
- Ellise, owner of a 2-year-old chihuahua mix

When it comes to feelings of loneliness, cats and dogs are second to none at helping reduce and remove this and replace it with feelings of contentedness and safety - and we’re not just talking about the safety a big strong guard dog provides.

He has helped me get over my irrational fear of being outdoors alone and now we walk to all kinds of places, this is definitely not due to the fact he makes me feel safe (He is little, white and fluffy. Not exactly a guard dog!) But seeing him enjoy himself during his adventures makes being outdoors worth it.
- Adam, owner of a 3-year-old bichon frise

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I adopted Waffle in Spain when I was moving out there for a year. I was living on my own, so she was going to keep me company.
- Ellise, owner of a 2-year-old chihuahua mix

By having pets in our lives, without evening knowing it they can add an extra sense of purpose to our lives. Having this innocent little creature entirely dependent on us for food and warmth and survival, in turn creates a sense of duty.

I was very low, having just been made redundant in the middle of lockdown & buying a house. The worry of how I was going to manage took me to a low point of how I was going to cope. I decided to still get two gorgeous british shorthair kittens and it was love at first sight. Since they have been in my life they have given me so much love & joy, putting a smile on my face in the darkest of days. I chose the british shorthair breed due to their characteristics affectionate, well tempered and the companionship. Ziggy & Rebel have lived up to this as my little shadows around the house. Jumping up for cuddles on the bed & sofa. They give me a focus to make sure I get out of bed and happiness even when you can’t think of anything positive. I wouldn’t change them for the world.
- Rebecca, owner of two 6-month-old British shorthairs

Having a pet depend on us teaches us a beautiful lesson in empathy. Having to change lifestyles and make decisions one wouldn’t normally make is a selflessness some might not have had to commit to before.

For the first time in my fifty years, here was a being who completely depended on me. Until then I was “needy me” expecting the rest of the world to look after me. In that moment, I knew we were a team and I had to make this work.
- James, owner of a 6-year-old cockapoo
He has been excellent with keeping me fit and giving me a routine, incredibly good for my mental health and keeping me on the rails. As a model sometimes it’s easy to get swept up in the London party lifestyle, with owning a dog I’ve had too many responsibilities for that.
- Coralie, owner of a 13-year-old cockapoo

On top of this, having your best friend by your side can build confidence - some feel supported by their presence and others enjoy the distraction it provides.

I'm not great with small talk but when he is around people like to ask questions because he is an unusual breed and let's be fair, he is ridiculously cute. So in that way, he has definitely brought me out of my shell because I could quite happily speak about him for days.
- Simònne, owner of a 5-year-old French bulldog cross schnoodle
Having Kingston has opened up a whole new world when it comes to meeting new people. I don’t mind going somewhere with just him and I, I never feel alone, and he certainly is an ice breaker for people to start a conversation, would you believe I’m actually quite shy, so Kingston has been great with bringing me out of my shell.
- Coralie, owner of a 13-year-old cockapoo
He has helped me more than I can put into words, I now make eye contact with people when I walk past them on the street (and if I don't feel like it I can always look at Buddy. It's a win, win situation).
- Adam, owner of a 3-year-old bichon frise

This is just a small insight into the magical qualities pets possess, we know there are a lot more like these out there and we always love hearing them. So please feel free to share your stories whenever you please - we’re all ears! You can email them to louis@waggel.co.uk.

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Waggel members can join our Waggel Pets Community Group on Facebook. The group is full of empathetic pet loving pet owners, as well as Waggel team members who love talking about all things cats and dogs. So if you want to surround yourself with likeminded people or even share your story - get involved and join us!

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