Loneliness and the Power of Pets.
In this article, Holidays4Dogs looks into the subject of loneliness and the power of pets. Loneliness is a very real issue for many people from all walks of life. The late Jo Cox MP recognised the importance of this social issue through a government commission, which she worked on until her death in 2016.
In 2018, the issue of loneliness became the subject of parliamentary debate. In the same year, the government launched its Inaugural Loneliness Strategy ; a strategy, “for everyone” but which requires, “society-wide change”.
The subject was also highlighted in the ‘BBC loneliness experiment’. This was a year long study involving questionnaires and interviews with 55, 000 people from 237 different countries. It has been deemed the largest survey of its kind in the world.
The results show that almost anyone, of any age, can be affected by feelings of loneliness. One third of people who took part in the survey claim to have felt lonely often, or very often.
Experts suggest that most loneliness is transitory. Nevertheless, over time, it can become chronic and debilitating.
Solutions to loneliness.
High on the list of solutions was to find distractions in the form of new study, hobbies and social activities. Smaller solutions included things such as starting a conversation with someone you don’t know.
Social activities can help lonely people to feel more connected to those around them. However, this can be difficult for some people. The BBC survey showed there is still a stigma attached to concept of loneliness. In addition, rarely do people wish to admit they may be lonely.
Surprisingly, caring for pets as an antidote for loneliness, was not raised in the survey. However, Holidays4Dogs argues that this is an important and, valid means, of combating loneliness.
The human-animal bond can provide a unique form of social support which helps people to feel loved and wanted. In addition to these health benefits, dogs help people to meet others. Dogs are great ice-breakers and owners often stop and chat to each other when they are out walking their dogs. It is not uncommon for these brief daily chats to develop into new long term friendships.
As a well established and trusted home boarding company, Holidays4Dogs has hundreds of carers across the UK who look after a pet dog while their owner is on holiday, or away. Meeting new people, is one of the prime reasons why carers choose to join us.
Loneliness is a very serious subject and one which the government’s loneliness strategy highlights. Social connection is important to our physical and mental health.
Becoming a carer for Holidays4Dogs is a rewarding occupation that can lead to making new friends – both human and canine.
Holidays4Dogs is not like any other dog home boarding company. By joining our team as a dog carer, it could just be a suitable solution to combating any feelings of loneliness. We particularly welcome active older people who may be retired and perhaps at a loose end, or wanting to meet new people.
Not only do our dog carers get to build friendships with many dog owners, they welcome different characters of dogs into their homes. This can be on a regular basis, or less frequent to suit the carer.
In addition to this, as a company, we are highly supportive of all our carers and there is always someone on the end of the phone 24 hours a day.
There should be no stigma attached to loneliness. All of us become lonely at some points in our lives. As stated in the government’s loneliness strategy, the solution should not only include individuals and families. The wider community should also be involved, including businesses like ours and local authorities.
With our UK wide network of dog owners and the carers who look after their dogs, we have the power to connect people together.
This is something that Holidays4Dogs are extremely proud to be able to do. Our business, and the way it operates, means loneliness in people is something we can help combat.
Find out more about looking after a dog in your home by contacting Holidays4Dogs.co.uk