The Power of Pets – Mental Health Awareness Week
For Mental Health Awareness Week this year, we want to give a shout out to the unsung furry or feathered heroes that provide companionship, comfort and cuddles when we’re not feeling our best – the Power of Pets. We asked the Omlet community to share their stories of the times when pets have saved their day, month, year or even life – and the results are extremely heart-warming. Grab a tissue and keep reading!
DEBORAH & TEDDY
I have always wanted to have a cat, but I struggled with the thought of supporting an animal, thinking they wouldn’t be happy with me and that I would be using them.
I have very low self esteem. I suffer from ADHD, and one of the symptoms is Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria i.e. the fear of being rejected if I made the slightest mistake. This led to me not wanting to become attached to anyone, human or animal, as I was sure that I would automatically make them unhappy.
And then, in the summer of 2021, a friend who knew I wanted a cat told me about Teddy. I fell in love with her as soon as I saw a photo, and adopted her on a whim. I have never regretted it.
She taught me how to respect her, to respect myself, that I could be loved unconditionally and that she has absolute confidence in me. She wakes me up, she plays, she cuddles, and we have created a way to understand each other. I especially like it when she comes and disturbs my meditation sessions. I’m sitting cross-legged and quiet so I must want hugs, right?
Of course, I have also had help from mental health professionals, but Teddy was definitely the one who taught me that I was valuable and had the right to be loved. Today, I can’t imagine my life without her. I’ve been having anxiety attacks for a few years, but they have changed, and now I can fight them.
CLAIRE & RYO
I am a psychologist and my dog Ryo, a Lhasa Apso, comes with me to work to meet my patients. I work with people aged 55 to 99, and I can only see the benefits Ryo has on them. For a moment they forget everything else and just relax and laugh, and they always talk about Ryo the next session and how much they liked meeting him.
Sometimes patients cry, and then Ryo goes straight to them and offers hugs. It’s amazing to see how sensitive he is to our emotions. And for me, it’s a daily joy to have him by my side – I genuinely never feel lonely.
BECCA & HER HENS
I have 6 hens. Nat, Wanda, Prim, Nieve, Peggy and Winter, plus two in heaven. They are rescue hens but really, they rescued me. I was going through a really dark time in my life and they made me smile on my darkest days. They are still sometimes the reason I get out of bed. The way they are so excited to greet me. Many people don’t realise how spectacular and loving chickens are. I’m forever grateful that they came into my life – they help me so much!
LINDSEY & BIGGIE
I have struggled with mental health issues and drug abuse issues since I was 12 years old, I am now 30. Growing up I always had cats and dogs, but everything changed when I got Biggie Smalls.
Biggie is a 2 pound male teacup chihuahua, and the most unique dog that I have ever owned. I don’t even consider him a dog, he is my son and he comes with me pretty much everywhere I go. When I got him I was in a very bad place mentally, and my life revolved around drugs. I ended up going to rehab twice after getting him, and the last time I decided that he was the most important thing in my life and that I needed to change and better myself for him.
I have no human children, just my four dogs; Biggie, Puppers, Milo, and Luna. After coming home from rehab for the last time my life has completely changed. I wake up in the morning happy and blessed to be able to have Biggie and the rest of my dogs in my life, I don’t wake up craving anything but him! I am doing things that I never had any interest in doing before. Like cooking, I want the best and healthiest life for him. The point is that if I didn’t have Biggie I don’t know where I would be right now, or if I would even be here. My outlook on life has done a complete 180° and I don’t have to force myself to want to do anything anymore, it just comes naturally.
They all bring so much joy to my life, I have been clean going on just around a year now and it’s all because of him! I truly believe that anybody struggling with mental health issues or drug addiction can change their lives for the better and mine has changed because of Biggie Smalls!
AZANIEL & SIMON
A few years back my father passed away. He was my best friend and teacher, and meant the world to me. When he passed away I had a hard time accepting it. Then someone gave me a budgie. His name is Simon and he decreased the pain a lot. After 3 years I decided to get him a partner. Her name is Catherine and they also have a baby chick together, Luke. They just make your life so much more pleasant because they are so adorable and won’t judge you. They also accept you and who you want to become.
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