Inquiry question: How does a pet impact and benefit an individual’s mental health?
Why this is a question of interest: Mental health is a struggle for everyone. As a student, I find that my mental health wavers whether it’s a result of personal matters or my classes and stresses at school. I’ve never had a “real” pet before. I’ve had 3 aquatic frogs that are similar to how beta fish act. So, there’s no real comfort or many things to do with them. As an animal lover, I’ve always read about emotional support animals and the overall effects of having a pet and service animals. It’s really quite incredible how much they can benefit us.
Since dating my boyfriend, I’ve been around pet’s a lot more as he has four. Jesse his dog and Yoko his cat is my favorite. I slowly started noticing that I would be really excited to go to his house only to see his pets. On days that I felt under the weather, he would bring his cat to me and I would instantly feel better. I noticed that taking care of them brought me joy and made me feel better overall. This led me to begin to wonder what life would be like if I had my own pet.
Yoko made a huge impact on me and I really enjoyed being around her. Since coming to the realization that pets made me feel better and that I leaned more toward cats, I began to want one. A couple of months later my boyfriend bought me a cat. Since having my cat Kiko I’ve noticed my mood is a lot better. It’s harder for me to be stressed out, he motivates me and he keeps me calmer. Not only that but I enjoy taking care of him and he allows me to do things I haven’t before. I’ve started to go outside more for his walks, to play with him more, and to feel less anxious when I’m home alone.
He’s impacted my mental health greatly and for this I am thankful. As a first-time pet owner, I want to research the impacts that pets have on other individuals’ mental health to see how other people’s experiences with pets help their mental health compared to mine.