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Man's Best Friend - My Lifeline During Lockdown

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Like many, when the lockdown was announced, I was worried about how I would cope not seeing co-workers, not having as much of a routine and ultimately being isolated with not much contact other than online interactions. However, when one door closes, another opens, and this one opened when I moved back home to spend the lockdown with family and, most importantly, my two springer spaniels, Ash and Gus.

I found that after a few days of working from home, my demeanour when approaching my work seemed to improve and initially I couldn't quite put my finger on why this was. Alongside not being in the office environment, I was spending more time with my pets. I quickly found, when I was struggling with an aspect of my work, I would pop downstairs and see what they were doing and give them a stroke or play with them in the garden for five minutes. I found it split up my time well, with regular breaks, and made me more productive.

I also read online that there were a number of health and work benefits to having pets at home and in the office, which may have helped me be more  productive. Firstly, I read about physical health benefits that our furry friends can aid with, including the fact that pet owners can have increased resistance to illness, due to the diverse range of bacteria within households with animals. Asthma levels in children can be reduced compared with those households with no pets. Dogs also improve heart health, as petting a dog reduces blood pressure and exercise increases due to your best friend needing walks.

The Human Animal Bond Research Initative found that pet owners were responsible for saving $11.8 billion yearly on healthcare in the USA, and owners who go for five walks a week or more show lower obesity levels. Whilst this is an American finding, the more money we can save the NHS better, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Next, I looked into the mental health  benefits of owning our canine pals. This includes a general increase in mood. Daily catch-ups with Wilesy, my manager, (Andrew Wiles) have frequently been interrupted by his dog chewing through the internet cable - it was something we've come to laugh about!

Many people find that looking after pets gives them a purpose outside of work, improves their mood and connects them socially with others. Even just looking at your pet can increase oxytocin, which is a feel good chemical. Similarly, office dogs bring the productivity of work places up too, lifting the atmosphere, reducing office stress and providing a good icebreaker for colleagues who do not know each other.

Personally, I have found being reunited with my pets has improved my stress levels around work, reducing my worry, improving my productivity and keeping me physically active. They improved my mood daily, being generally daft and they have given me something else to focus on other than this virus. They also lead me to having more interactions, socially distanced chats to other dog walkers, and more recently, a social distance dog walking date, a very weird experience, but that is another story!

Overall, I would say that lockdown for me has been a success, and despite not seeing my friends and other family members, my dogs have helped me get through This, paired with commitment and tenacity, has led to more productivity at work. 

I am currently recruiting for non-clinical staff (such as cleaners, housekeepers, administrators) in the Midlands. Please get in touch if you are looking for a job or looking to recruit.
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