Furry cuddles, wet kisses, hoovering up spilled food... we all know the immediate advantages of owning or being around dogs but did you know that they are also super heroes when it comes to the well-being of their humans?
The mental health benefits of owning a dog or cat have been proven by many scientific studies. Animals help with depression, anxiety, and stress. In addition, they provide companionship and ease loneliness. Moreover, pets bring us joy and unconditional love. Medical News Today stated that:
"a large study interviewed people living with conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder. The findings revealed that having a pet offers people a deep sense of "ontological security" — that is, the feeling of stability, continuity, and meaning in one's life."
Lodestone Books YA author, Marie Yates, wrote the Dani Moore series which explores a teenager’s search for normality in the aftermath of rape. Due to the success of her book, Marie went on to co-found Canine Perspective, a social enterprise inspiring positive change through the power of the human-canine bond. Their profits fund Canine Hope, their signature programme dedicated to working with survivors of rape and sexual violence, with rescue dogs as their canine co-tutors.
Today, in preparation of #BestFriendsDay, Marie tells us why dogs are so beneficial in matters of mental health and the healing process and gives us eight more reasons to love our four-pawed friends:
Dani Moore, a teenage survivor, shares her journey through her trilogy of books; Reggie & Me, Sammy & Me and Frankie & Me. She knows a thing or two about the advantages of having a best friend to turn to and here she shares eight reasons why our best friends deserve to be celebrated.
Spontaneous Mood Improver
We only have to see our best friend and our mood improves. Whether that’s because we know we can relax and be ourselves or because we need to have a whinge in a safe environment, it doesn’t really matter,our bestie is the one we can turn to when we need to feel better about life. They don’t need to do anything; they simply hold the space for us to be ourselves, unapologetically.
Our best friends make us better people. They care about us and want us to be happy and because we reciprocate that, we learn to accept others for who they are, embrace difference and learn about unconditional love. We love our best friend for who they are, we learn from them and we don’t want to change them. It’s an important lesson as we go through life and we learn that we don’t have to be besties with everyone, but we do need to accept and learn from others.
They know when something is wrong. They don’t have to do anything to help us fix it, they don’t have to say anything to try and make it better, they’re with us and that’s what matters the most. Only a best friend can sit with us in the midst of pain and understand the power of ensuring we don’t feel alone.
Judgement Free Zone
No matter what we do, or don’t do, our best friend doesn’t judge. They know who we are and they love us anyway! They can see through our exterior to the essence of who we are, they don’t care about the superficial things and with that acceptance comes true understanding.
Whatever you do, your best friend will be by your side, cheering you on. They’re in your corner and they want you to succeed. They’re there when you do succeed, celebrating with you and they’re there when things don’t go to plan, still cheering you on and loving you no matter what.
What’s the point of having a best friend if you can’t be silly together, laugh together and have fun in each other’s company? It’s your best friend who helps you make your best memories.
We all get things wrong; that’s life. Our best friend is patient when we make mistakes, they know when to step in and when to allow us to take the time we need to realise our mistakes. They know that our mistakes don’t define us.
Comfort Zone Eradicator
With our best friend by our side, we don’t have to step out of our comfort zone; they can help us eradicate it completely. Knowing they’re with us gives us the courage we need to live our best life.
Dani enjoyed connection and friendship with other teenagers but her best friend is her rescue dog, Reggie, who ticked every one of these boxes and more. Friendship teaches us that we’re needed, that we have a place in this world and that no matter what is going on in our life, someone cares about us. Let’s not limit that to human-only friendships as the life lessons we can learn from animals transcend friendship and make us better people.
Happy Best Friends Day!
Marie Yates, author of the Dani Moore Trilogy.
To celebrate Best Friends Day, you can discover Marie Yates YA series at a promotional price until 30th June 2019!
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