Rescuing a pet can help alleviate loneliness, anxiety and depression. Did you know about 50.2 percent of American adults are single? When we turn back time and look at what the stats were some fifty years ago, that number registered at around 22 percent in 1950. Much has changed since then. And, you add in the increase in population of singles, with many living alone, coupled with a global pandemic outbreak, the stressful combination can leave many people feeling anxious, fearful, and depressed.

Apart from the unconditional love that pets give, folks that want to get out of the house and are looking to get some exercise as well as are feeling the impact of limited affection, adopting a dog (or cat) from a kill-shelter or rescue organization can boost moods and help ease loneliness and anxiousness, encourage playfulness, and improve cardiovascular health.

“A pet can remind you that you’re not alone,” says Desiree Wiercyski, a life coach who lives in Fort Wayne, IN. “Pets offer unconditional love, which can be extraordinarily soothing when feeling isolated.”

“Rescuing a Pet Can Help Alleviate Loneliness, Anxiety and DepressionAnimals are very connected in ways that people aren’t”

Clinical psychologist Perpetua Neo, PhD, concurs, “Animals pick up on when their owners are distressed. When they sense you’re not feeling well, they offer comfort.”

FOX TV-News in Orlando, Florida, reported last week that the Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control kennels were emptied out for the very first time after every dog was adopted.

The grateful organization and staff showed their joy and appreciation on their Facebook page, saying, “Thank you to the shelter staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to care for, find homes for, and advocate for the pets who come through these doors; thank you to our incredible foster parents who open their heart and homes to thousands of pets each year; thank you to everyone who has opted to adopt a shelter pet – whether it be here or from any of the other amazing organizations out there.”

Mood-Boosters (why rescuing a pet can help alleviate loneliness, anxiety and depression)

In article by the mental health and wellness influencer blog, Help Guide, they listed some research studies conducted with pet owners and mental health, which revealed:

  • Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
  • People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets. One study even found that when people with borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure declined significantly within five months.
  • Playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
  • Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.
  • Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.
  • Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.
  • While people with pets often experience the greatest health benefits, a pet doesn’t necessarily have to be a dog or a cat. Even watching fish in an aquarium can help reduce muscle tension and lower pulse rate.

Connections in Recovery co-owner Patty Baret recently adopted a four-year old chihuahua from a high-kill shelter in Southern California. After losing her beloved chihuahua, Pepito, to old age and kidney failure at the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown, she felt something was missing. “I felt a void—my home was missing this little heartbeat. And since I don’t have children, I wanted to give back to a sweet soul from a kill-shelter, who was in dire need of a safe-haven. My last dog, and son, Pepito had a very bad start in his life and I wanted to do the same for my new little daughter, “Cujo Rose,” who also has been dealt a hard hand before I adopted her.”

What You Need to Know About Shelter and Rescue Animals

Shelter pets, whether a mixed breed or purebreed (dogs and cats) make the most wonderful, loyal pets. Most the time, if not all, a pet ends up being at a shelter through it not being their fault. It could be that the pet’s owner passed away or he/she moved to a new location that doesn’t permit pets or in worse cases, irresponsible owners abandoned their pets due to various reasons. It’s known that if a rescue animal displays some aggressive behavior, they are usually first in line for euthanization rather than being adopted out.

“Rescue groups try to find suitable homes for unwanted or abandoned dogs and cats, many taken from shelters where they would otherwise have been euthanized,” Help Guide. “Volunteers usually take care of the animals until they can find a permanent home. This means that rescuers are often very familiar with a pet’s personality and can help advise you on whether the pet would make a good match for your needs. By adopting an animal from a shelter or rescue organization, you’ll not only be giving a home to a deserving pet, but you’ll also likely be saving an animal’s life.”

If you are feeling lonely, depressed, starving for affection or just wanting to add a new member to your home and you can adopt, foster or rescue, please go to your local shelters (or rescues), visit their websites, or just pick up the phone, call them and ask questions. A forever pet is a beautiful addition to someone’s life and heart.