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  • Loneliness is an unpleasant state we all experience at times; fortunately, an animal companion can help us resolve those lonely feelings.
  • Dogs often prove to be great pets and they come with mental health benefits including stress and anxiety reduction, a boost in self-esteem, and improved social connection.
  • Cats are also a popular pet; these loving, independent animals have proven to help with loneliness, depression, and anxiety.
  • Rabbits are known for their sociability as well as their long life expectancy—they generate calm and are often used to help patients with mental health problems.
  • Birds can also make for a helpful companion, as they are loving as well as intelligent: they are often used as therapy animals, and you can even have a conversation with some of them!
  • Finally, hamsters are another good option if you’re looking for a companion pet, as they help with stress, as seen in hospitals like the Huntercombe hospital in London.

Lonely: the lack of companionship. We all feel lonely sometimes—say, when we’re drowning in work and too busy to hang with loved ones, or after a tough breakup from a significant other. This loneliness is often discouraging and, frankly, depressing. In fact, it can cause or signify depression in an individual. That makes resolving lonely feelings super important. But sometimes doing so isn’t so easy, especially when our friends and family members are busy or we’re too swamped ourselves to schedule meaningful time with others. In these instances, a pet can be especially helpful. If you’re currently experiencing feelings of loneliness, the good news is there’s an animal companion out there just waiting to help. They’re some of the best listeners on the planet (I mean, they rarely talk back or interrupt) and they’ll never get sick of spending time with you. Resolve your lonely feelings by spending time with an animal companion. Keep reading to determine which pet might be the right fit for you:

1. Dogs: Man’s best friend

Where do we even begin. Dogs are arguably the most beloved creature on the planet (though, cats certainly give them a run for their money). Most people wouldn’t even question this statement, but if you need some convincing: they’re happy, they’re playful, they’re goofy, they’re loving. Not to mention they offer mental health benefits:

If you are ready to commit to a new pet (and best friend), a dog might be the perfect companion. They’ll help you resolve your lonely feelings and offer you a life full of love and happiness.

2. Cats: Friendly Felines

Cats are one of the most common companion pets in the world because they’re extremely loving, but most cat owners love them for their independent nature too. Cats have been known to help with loneliness, anxiety, depression, and more, just like dogs. If you’re looking for a pet that requires a little less attention, a cat might be your best bet. They still make for great companions, but they’re also okay with being alone for a while.

3. Rabbits: Social Butterflies

While dogs and cats get most of the attention and applause, there are other pets out there that people love just as much—like rabbits! They’re extremely social and easily adapt to human companionship. In comparison to most small pets, they also have one of the longest life expectancies. Rabbits are often used in animal therapy and visit different mental health wards to generate calm among the patients. If you’re new to pets, a rabbit might suit you best as they are low maintenance (like cats), but they’re also there when you need them.

4. Birds: Chatty Cathies

Birds probably aren’t the first thing that come to mind when you think about a companion bet, but these creatures are actually extremely loving and intelligent. In fact, many birds have been specifically bred to become human companions, and who doesn’t want a pet that you can actually have a conversation with? For years, birds have been used as therapy animals, as they can provide many mental health benefits, just like the animals that precede them on this list.

5. Hamsters: Helpful Rodents

I mean, how could you not love something with a face like that? They may be rodents, but they are the most adorable rodents you can own, and they’re extremely cuddly creatures, too. They’re also great if you’re an extremely busy person as most of them don’t require constant attention, and they excel at entertaining themselves and their owners. The Huntercombe hospital in London even uses hamsters in animal-assisted therapy (AAT) to help relax their patients. Hospital staff has seen a huge positive effect on patient stress levels, as a result. If you’re looking for a companion pet, hopefully this list helps you find one that fits the bill. In our humble opinion, you can’t go wrong, as all of the pets above can positively influence your mental health. Not only will they help to resolve your lonely feelings, but they can help with depression, anxiety, stress, and more.  

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is a staff writer at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She is a co-author of Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book and has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."

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