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By Anastasia Iliou

Man's Best FriendLoneliness is one of the leading causes of depression, and one of the best ways to cure that is to adopt a pet. 

The act of taking care of an animal can be just as gratifying as having an animal love on you. Depressed people have a tendency to stay in bed all day or not leave the house. Any living creature that exists in your home needs to be fed and taken care of, which gives you a purpose. A living creature is depending on you. 

Dogs are arguably the best solution here. They are scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and depression - they will love you as much as you love them. Dogs are also a great way to force people to get outside, and one of the greatest cures for depression is increased outdoor time. Sunlight and the beauty of nature induce happy feelings. 

Boxers are one of the number one recommended dog breeds for people suffering from depression and general unhappiness, because they have a way of sensing when their owner is having bad thoughts, and will run right up, ready to cuddle. Welsh Corgi’s come close behind as they get attached to their owners like no other. If unconditional love is what you need, then Welsh Corgi’s just might be your breed. 

Dog Walker
Social interaction, touch, and companionship are all basic human needs that are often forgotten about. When you think of human needs, you probably think of eating and sleeping before you think of communication with others, but these things are equally as important, though they affect a different part of you. Depression is a vicious cycle in that depressed people are less likely to receive the social interaction that they need because they feel little to no motivation to go out and find it. Snuggle With PuppiesHaving a pet in the house is an automatic guarantee of love and interaction. Sitting on the couch by yourself watching a movie can induce feelings of loneliness, but doing that while petting a cat on your lap can induce feelings of relaxation and love. 

It’s important to remember that a person who is deeply depressed cannot be cured by having a new pet thrown at them. The person has to be capable of taking care of said pet. If you have a friend who is not in a good enough state to start taking care of their own pet, try pet therapy. Even if it’s as simple as going to a local shelter and playing with the dogs for an hour, being around such loving, non-judgemental creatures can instantly boost the feel-good chemicals in the brain. 

Happy HuskyIf you or a loved one wants to adopt but is allergic or can’t have dogs and cats for whatever reason, exotic animals are always an option. Anything from a chameleon to a hedgehog and everything in between can be just as beneficial if treated right. Either way, I suggest something on the cuddlier side- social interaction, touch, and companionship. A fish could be fun, but you can’t hold it in your hand like a hamster. / Issue 196 - July 2018
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