Anna Webb – Broadcaster, Author, has studied natural nutrition and therapies with the College of Integrated Veterinary Therapies (CIVT). She lives in London and is owned by Prudence a Miniature Bull Terrier and Mr Binks, a re-homed English Toy Terrier. www.annawebb.co.uk
Pets in the Pandemic
Dogs owners have been the lucky ones through this, I know I certainly wouldn’t have survived without my gang – and that includes Gremlin, my rescued streetcat.
The animal human bond has been well documented for around 30,000 years. ‘Back in the day’, sharing a simple life with dogs must have looked so different, yet I bet we were more in tune with them and the nature around us.
What I think the pandemic has done is make us all re-calibrate our values. Everyone has been affected. And pets (dogs in particular) have provided a therapy, perhaps being a mirror to our inner selves?
Health Benefits of Pets
Dogs in particular represent big values at the heart of government, not least where physical fitness and health is concerned.
Whilst many dog owners rely on dog walkers every day, my hope is that through the lock downs, owners have discovered the joy that is walking their own dog, and the mutual benefits it offers.
As a gateway to the outdoors dogs have played their part in bringing us closer to nature and valuing the natural world that helps with mental health, and being in the moment.
There’s so much science that concurs the health benefits dogs offer. A study back in 1991 showed that new dog owners, when compared to people without dogs, increased their exercise and had fewer minor health problems, and less trips to their GP.
Growing up around pets helps children learn respect, empathy and kindness. Evidence suggests that children with dogs are also less likely to have ear infections, tummy bugs, and allergies. And less days away from school and at the doctor.
Simply having a dog in a room lowers everyone’s blood pressure and cholesterol. A study in 2002 showed that people with a dog or a cat showed a lower resting heart rate and blood pressure than those who didn’t own a pet.
Dog owners are also more likely to survive a heart attack according to a study that showed 94% of heart patients with dogs survive their heart attacks, compared to only 72% without dogs.
Stroking your own dog releases the ‘happy hormone’ Oxcytocin, which boosts our wellbeing – naturally, without antidepressants. We know loneliness creates depression and is a silent killer, which is why dog owners are said to be happier than people without a dog.
Pets and Companionship
It’s this lifeline – constant companionship – where both cats and dogs come into their own. Coupled with no judgement, neither minds about a lockdown haircut. Animals are grateful for the simple pleasures in life, and this is what has seen their popularity soar through the pandemic.
Offering a social network away from social media, dogs represent community. With a concern that social media may banish the art of conversation from society, dog owners can practice this daily out on regular walks. Dogs are an ice breaker across party politics, cultural and socioeconomic differences: they’re like the glue to remind us of what being human actually is!
As many of us will be working from home, another study revealed that over 41% dog owners have been more productive working from home. As a seasoned freelance myself, I thrive on being able to punctuate my day around my dogs’ needs.
Nothing beats a quick round of ‘fetch’ in my garden in-between Zoom calls, it’s great for Prudence my Bull terrier, and great for me – as we’re experiencing fun together in the moment. Clearing the mind before another Zoom but in a productive way.
It’s Time for a more tolerant approach!
All this adds up to why I support Andrew Rosindell MP’s proposed legislation to ban ‘no pet’ clauses. In his bill he clearly is sympathetic to Landlords concerns stating that certification that a dog is trained and microchipped can be provided.
Apart from dismissing any ‘landlord concerns’ that accommodation would be ‘trashed’ by a dog, in my book a tenant who is committed to training their dog is a responsible and reliable individual.
Bringing rented and leasehold accommodation in line with bigger socio-economic trends. According to Mintel 2019, the dog owning demographic has shifted in recent years to 37% of under 38 x year olds.
Apart from this age group representing 35% of the rental market, this is the key workforce. Arguably this is why forward-thinking companies including Facebook, Google and Amazon now encourage staff to bring their dogs to work.
The irony is that they may well be able to take their dogs to work, just not live in the same home! But private Landlords views about ‘no pets’, are also at odds with the massive boom in ‘Dog-friendly’ with cafes, pubs and even cinemas now welcoming dogs.
For me the value of the ‘Hound Pound’ as a safe investment has never been stronger!
Anna, Prudence, Mr. Binks & Gremlin
Support Jasmime’s Law #APetInEveryHome
If like us you believe in a balanced and tolerant approach towards those who chose to love a pet we welcome you to consider supporting Jasmine’s Law. This link will generate an email to your local MP with three simple steps, Campaigns | PAAW House.
You may also want to consider signing our petition Ban Blanket No Pet Clauses in Tenancy Agreements & Leases. – Petitions (parliament.uk)
Check out Anna Webb’s latest Podcast ‘A Dogs Life’ where I chat to her about the webinar and the importance of this new legislation, A Dog’s Life with Anna Webb: A Pet In Every Home on Apple Podcasts
Gabby, Vinnie & Team PAAW