Pet Culture: The Furry Face of Co-Workers
by WSNXT Team·
Written by Jade Scott
Arguably, dogs have benefited the most from the pandemic, as they’ve had their owners at home 24/7. Yet, in the long-term, it’s dog owners that may have benefited from the additional time with their canine companion, as Tails found that interacting with dogs can drastically improve mental well being in challenging times.
One of the main benefits of working from home, along with a shorter commute and seeing loved ones, is being able to spend more time with our four-legged friends. This has been incredibly important for all professionals, especially the self-employed that don’t have regular contact with other colleagues. Here in the UK there has been a drastic increase in dog adoptions, as dogs have been seen as the perfect tonic for this incredibly isolating time.
Without much human interaction in the pandemic, dogs have provided physical comfort and in some cases a reason to leave the house. In the same survey, Tails found that 72 per cent of people said they were more active as they had a dog. Dogs can also help you avoid burnout and feel better not only about your work but yourself. Research found that playing with a dog releases oxytocin for humans, a positive hormone often known as the hug hormone.
After living in a heightened state of panic and disruption, dogs have been both a consistent companion and source of relief, as part of a dog’s charm is that they’re unpredictable. They can fall over their own paws, each other and by just being themselves, they can bring the utmost joy to a person’s day. Dogs help diffuse depressive thoughts and anxiety as they force you to live in the moment and notice the small things.
This practice of mindfulness and presence with dogs transcends across all area of dog owners life improving their well being overall. Barkbox found that a staggering 93 per cent of people within their study felt that they were better people overall due to owning a furry friend. This statement is supported by findings from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that found pet owners “were more physically fit, less lonely, more conscientious, were more socially outgoing…than non-owners.”
Animal therapy is on the rise and a study found that social support can be given by pets as well as humans to reduce anxiety, loneliness, stress and fear. This has never been more important when face to face therapy or socialising is limited. Barkbox conducted a Dog Parent Study and found that 80 per cent of people found it easier to wake up in the morning as their dogs were there to greet them.
Pets are a simple but effective coping solution to the unprecedented time we’re in and ward off feelings of loneliness that are so prevalent in lockdown. They provide hugs, when you can’t hug a friend and offer you an abundance of unconditional love. This is why dogs are particular popular amongst young people and the self-employed, they offer love, affection and they’re cheaper and sometimes more appealing than having children.
Gen Z are opting for fur babies over real ones for countless reasons, from wanting to travel in the future, save money, and companionship or a responsibility besides themselves. It enables them to extend their family, stay active and have a fur friend with them all the time.
Along with boosting our happiness, dogs can also sense and read human emotions to formulate a comforting response. They are therapeutic and entertaining, offering a light relief to the everyday routine. They’ve been subjected to dodgy home haircuts, going viral on TikTok and dressed up as though they’re working from home too. The ‘Dogs working from home’ Instagram now has over 90,000 followers and an array of heart-warming canine imitations of home-working.
Dogs are a big commitment but while we all have the additional time at home, they’re wonderful companions. If you want to feel the benefit of having a dog, without the full-time responsibility look into ‘Borrow my Doggy’ or other dog walking schemes that may be local to you. That way you can spend some time with a four-legged friend outdoors in the fresh air, soak up the experience and then go back to your workday.
Whether it’s the push you need for an active life, or you simply could do with some mood-boosting animal therapy, a dog can brighten and enhance your life for the better.
About Jess Bacon
Jess is a writer, content creator, podcaster and social media consultant who is passionate about story-telling in all its forms. As a former Editor and English graduate she's written for numerous publications including The Happy Newspaper. She's a big fan of dog cuddles, movies and she's currently writing her first novel.
www.jessicakatie.com | @jesskbacon