fbpx

Dog Therapy

To start with…

All too often in my day-to-day life, do I feel gratitude for my hounds and their offering of Dog Therapy. I have a noisy, hectic household with two Ridgeback’s wandering around. During their wanderings, often food and those all important things I need go missing, furniture gets covered in animal fibre and my garden is a hop scotch of passings at the best of times…

Myself and Ava

But I couldn’t imagine a world without them. Nalu, my mama beast, joined myself and my late husband Lars, during his battle with cancer. Nalu, without fail gets the body moving, with morning snuggles and slow pestering for breakfast before beach walks. We both needed this motivation, as when each day is a fight, encouragement into the ring is key. 

Ava came later. Ava has been the boost I need, a little like a midlife makeover, she is my midlife serotonin boost. 

“Ava came later. Ava has been the boost I need, a little like a midlife makeover, she is my midlife serotonin boost.”

A year after my husband passed, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. A blow of life hits again that, without witnessing Lars’ positivity and strength, I’m unsure I could have been so ballsy about the treatment. I remember feeling a unique sense of calm during this time. 

I almost felt invincible as to me, I had life on both sides. If the worst was to happen, I’d at least be with Lars again. 

This bounced with the fear, anxiety and stress of approaching a major brain op followed by chemotherapy. I felt all of these emotions from seeing what chronic disease can do to people first hand. Ignorance is bliss as they say. Now it was my turn at the starting line and as I looked at Nalu, I knew I had the fight and Lar’s would be pissed if I didn’t give it my all. 

How my hounds help my mental health

Following my brain op, chemo rounds and mental health rehabilitation, I sewed the Wholesome World seed, with which myself and Lar’s had begun, into the ground. It gave me focus, brain training and something incredible to share with the cancer community and anyone with an interest in controlling their health. 

“It gave me focus, brain training and something incredible to share.”

Now Wholesome World is a NHS authorised 4.9 star wellness app with over 80 recipes, health links and online digital library. It has taken blood sweat and tears to get here. 

Ten years on and Nalu gifted me with Ava. Named after my beautiful best friend who continues to inspire me everyday Xzanth. My adventurous soul mate rode the high seas on a sailing boat named Avalon. Feel free to muse her incredible adventures. 

Ava brings the beans that Nalu has shelved for the later years of her life. A zest for life, get up and go, the spontaneity you only get with a new puppy excited for the world. But it’s by no means an unusual or individual rush of endorphins you get from your pet pal. 


What the experts say

Research suggests that social recognition is one of the key aspects for this. Social recognition is the process of releasing another being as a significant other. This bond is of much likeness to the bond a mother forms with her baby. It has been widely reported that healthy social bonds can play a key role in mental health. Without these connections we become depressed, lonely and ultimately physically unwell. 

We now understand that healthy social bonds can play a key role in mental health; without them, we become lonely, depressed and physically unwell. And pets, it seems, can fulfil that role. 

Often life throws us lemons that make us feel isolated. When your capabilities and capacity for social interaction is ebbed, lemonade is needed and a four legged friend could be just that.

dog therapy
My, myself and my Hounds

Academic and psychologist June McNicholas points out why pets can be a lifeline for socially isolated people.

“Pet care and self-care are linked. When you take a dog out for a walk, people talk to you and that may be the only social contact an isolated person has the whole day… People with disabilities often find that able-bodied people are socially awkward with them; if they have a dog it breaks down barriers and allows a more comfortable and natural interaction.” (1)

The Mental Health foundation cite that pets can make exercise more fun, provide companionship, reduce anxiety, increase confidence and add structure to your day. I’ve experienced all of the above first hand and can vouch for the extra benefit that you don’t have to clean your kitchen floor as much as you did pre-pet life. (2)


What you can do to support your mental health

The idea of Wholesome World was to share nuggets of information that hit three major notes of what makes for a healthy and happy life; Nutrition, physical health and mental health. If you can do a few things in your day that tick the boxes, your life will be enhanced.

The idea of Wholesome World was to share nuggets of information that hit three major notes of what makes for a healthy and happy life; Nutrition, physical health and mental health. If you can do a few things in your day that tick the boxes, your life will be enhanced. 

For instance, If you add a recipe such as my classic Pink Island Smoothie or Hemp, Nut and Cacao energy balls to your daily dog walk, you will hit nutrition with the snack, physical with the walk and a whole host of mental health benefits from dog ownership. Tick, tick, tick. 

Stay posted

Keep up to date and inspired with my IG account @wholesomeworld and sign up to my monthly newsletter full of recipes, wellness inspiration and giveaways. 

If you would like to find out more about my world, head to my Top Five Summer Podcasts in which some of them I feature or simply head to the media/press page

Follow Wholesome World

[instagram-feed feed=1]