It’s not uncommon to consider your dog one of your best friends. (I’ve said it about my own dog on more than occasion.) This profound bond that we share with our dogs can benefit us in two major ways during the Covid-19 outbreak. They can banish our loneliness, and they can help us develop some much-needed social skills.
One study looked into the effects that pets have on adults who live alone. It revealed (not surprisingly) that pet owners who lived alone were 36% less likely than non-pet owners to report loneliness. In our current situation of forced social-distancing, this is one stat us dog owners especially happy to hear about.
Pets have a way of counteracting social isolation. A friendly dog can be a real icebreaker, helping you connect with new people at the dog park or during your daily walks (at a safe distance of cause). The more social connections and friendships we have, the healthier our mental state seems to be. Our social connections really boost our self-esteem, give us a more optimistic outlook, and lower our risk of anxiety and depression. (Newport Academy)
Dogs have also been shown to help us develop social skills, which is something we could all use a little refresher on. A study conducted at the University of Bristol discovered a link between children who grew up with pets and increased social competence. From eye contact to our use of language, pets help us refine the skills that make it easier for us to build relationships with new people.