5 ways animals can make your weekend better - Public Health Dorset

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5 ways animals can make your weekend better

It is well known that having a four-legged friend can boost your mental wellbeing.  This week’s article focuses on how your favourite animals can help boost your wellbeing.   

Dog wearing glasses showing animals can be fun

Dogs: animals are always good for a laugh

By Charlotte Fuge

1. Run in a pack

40% of people in the UK are pet owners and a great deal more are animal lovers! If you have a dog in the family, this can be a great opportunity to get connected and it can benefit both you and Rover. Most local communities have dog walking groups, which can help to develop your dog’s socialising skills. This gives them the experience of being in a pack and allowing you to meet new people (and their dogs). If you aren’t a dog owner, there are many ways you can connect with animals across Dorset from open farms to aquariums. There’s even Llama trekking.

2. Keep learning, there’s always something new to discover

So, you know the difference between a Paracheirodon Innesi and a Poecilia Libestes Retiulata, but what about branching out and learning about the Platichthys Flesus. Well, you might not know the difference between these types of fish, but the message is still the same: broaden your knowledge. Use your local library – find details of ones in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset – to access a wide range of resources. If fish do float your boat, there are a couple of fish related attractions you can visit to see them in the flesh.

3. Be active, don’t let the cart horse pull all the weight

Horse riding is a great activity for everyone and there are horses to suit people of all shapes and sizes. Some riding schools also have options for people with mobility problems. Horses are very intuitive animals and, if you can be calm around them, they are likely to remain placid and gentle. If you are nervous about being around horses, ask your local riding school if you can spend some time at the stables to build your confidence. Some will even let you muck in… or should that be muck out? There really is nothing like being taken through nature on horseback or galloping down a sandy beach. Plus, horses make really good listeners.

4. Take notice of your garden visitors

Have you ever noticed how many birds visit your garden or local green space? The RSPB asks people to take part in the Big Garden Bird Count in January each year. But you can get in some practice this summer with some gentle bird watching wherever you may be. Even in urban areas, you’ll be surprised at how many birds you can spot. In green areas you may spot nesting birds and maybe catch a glimpse of a fledgling making his first forays out of the nest.

5.  “You can judge a man’s true character by the way he treats his fellow animals” ― Paul McCartney

Animal shelters are always grateful for people who give. Whether it is giving their time to socialise with animals, walk dogs or help out on open days, these charities really do benefit from people who give. If you don’t live near a shelter you may live near animal charity shop. There are a number across Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset who may be looking for volunteers for the shop. Or you can drop a donation in of clothes and bric-a-brac.

If you have any ideas for future articles, let me know.

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