Goodness of petting for your mental health

Ask a pet owner about the joy they experience by having a companion animal. The first thing would talk about is the ultimate pleasure of sharing their lives with a furry friend. And no, you can’t call their pets animals, they are as good as any other family member, or probably more. Stress buster is the buzzword that comes around when it comes to petting. After a long tiring day, coming home to a pet can just distract you from everything else. It is sheer happiness. Over the years pets have evolved to get acutely attuned to human behavior and emotional state. Watch the movie Hachiko and you’ll know. It is a true account. Eizaburo Ueno, a professor in agriculture science at Tokyo University in Japan had a dog named Hachiko. As a practice, everyday Hachiko would come to drop his master at the Shibuya Train Station and would return in the evening to pick him up. One evening, the professor did not return succumbing to cerebral hemorrhage. But Hachiko did not lose hope, for 10 long years, he continued to visit the station both times during the day. Such is love and attachment. Disclaimer, if you love pets, don’t watch this movie without a tissue box.

petting for mental health

We asked seven working professionals, why they love having pets and what does petting mean to them. And this what they had to say-

“Pets are the biggest stress busters. You never feel lonely.. you always know that someone is waiting for you at home..” - Mruga Gandhe. Designer & merchandiser, Mumbai

“They will understand our mood and get along with it. They don't like it when you cry. Their cute eyes are just enough to relieve your stress. They give you attention when nobody does and get excited when you get excited” - Anjali Menon, Research Scholar, MAHE

“It's rewarding in a lot of sense. It has made me feel more responsible” - Anandita Rao, Designer, Bangalore

“You become happier, have a better outlook on life because of that. Your activities, chores and tasks benefit from this. Because you're more inclined to do well now. Even if they don't talk back, they're a constant companion so you never feel lonely” - Harshavardhan R, Senior Executive, Mumbai.

“They are entertaining, you know. It is more peaceful to be around them. When you come home after sometime and when they pounce on you, immediate relief from stress” - Sanyam Maingi, Software engineer, Noida

“Absolute stress buster, drive away negativity, evoke the feelings of selfless love. I have even felt that when he (her labrador Joy) lies next to me he absorbs all my physical pain as well” - Richa Gupta, Educator, Ahmedabad

“Happiness...with no terms and conditions” - Tanvi Mathur, Baker, Ghaziabad

petting a fish

As a matter of fact, pets also inculcate a sense of routine in an individual’s life. They need to be fed, taken out for a walk and other day to day activities. This is true not only for dogs and cats but fishes and birds as well. Children who grow up in the company of pets turn out to be more secure and active adults. Even in older age, pets serve as very valuable friends. Dogs and cats can visibly reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness. They fulfill the basic human sense of touch. Stroking, hugging, or otherwise touching a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe you down. Our exposure to screen and social media is unmatched. Petting is a good break from that too. The Viral Fever, a popular Indian YouTube channel recently rolled out a series called ‘Cheesecake’. It is about a young couple’s married relationship that sees a whopping communication gap due to which their relationship is adversely impacted. With a dog coming into their lives from nowhere. And how this new comer changes things for the better, is a beautiful tale to witness. 

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