Pets and Mental Health

Dear Community,

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute considers pets to be universally embraced as an essential element to human wellness. Through our work at the GTHS, we know this to be true. Every day we witness stories shared with us by pet parents in our community.

Today marks the beginning of the 70th annual #MentalHealthWeek organized by the Canadian Mental Health Association. In honour of this awareness campaign, we asked you to #GetReal with us and share your stories about how your pets have positively impacted your mental health throughout the pandemic. Thank you SO MUCH for reaching out and sharing your experience.

Stephanie and Olive


“We adopted Olive (formally Cupcake) from the GTHS last summer. We adopted her for two reasons. Our cat had passed away a few months prior and both my son and I love the companionship a cat can give you. Although my son was only 2 when we adopted Olive, him and Olive have grown a bond like no other! They really are inseparable. They love to play with each other and keep each other busy on the days we have nothing to do.
I have attached way too many pictures below and a video because my son loves to sing to her…I just couldn’t pick one.”

Karen and Rosie

“Rosie was adopted from the GTHS in October 2019 when she was 3 months old. After a few repairs due to broken bones and a vicious dog attack, we were faced with rehabilitating her in order for her to get onto the best life possible for her. After that challenge, the pandemic changed everything. Her joyful loving personality made us realize if she could overcome her past challenges, we needed to have the same attitude. We are two seniors who are privileged to have Rosie as part of our lives. Nothing can express the laughter and love this sweet girl has brought into our lives especially during these challenging times.”

Teena and Raia

“Due to the lockdown measures and restricted access to many outlets for mental and social stimulation, I found myself and my family becoming more and more inactive and sad. We have made the most of our time by doing what we can and getting in lots of quality time, but it cannot erase the effect that the lockdown has had on us. We are fortunate to still have a roof over our heads and food to eat, so for us the pandemic has not been the worst thing to happen to us as a family.
We have each other, but did feel like something was missing. This is where our girl Raia came to the rescue. We are so lucky to have been able to adopt her and bring her into our home. Since adopting her, we have been more active outdoors, always engaged with each other and learned so much about dogs in general. Our home is more alive with laughter, love and joy just from watching her navigate her new surroundings. Raia has definitely improved our mental health and we are so grateful for her. Thank you 😊”

Deanna and Demi

“This is our cat Demi who we got from a rescue in Owen Sound 2 years ago. She has been a Godsend during the pandemic. My daughter has often felt isolated at home. Living with her elderly Grandmother we have been extremely cautious about our interactions. Demi has been a comfort, friend, confidant, and entertainment to my daughter. For my mother she is also all these things, curling up beside her on the sofa, doing flips while playing with her toy mice. For myself, I take joy in being sought out for pets and scratches. Being ‘called’ when I leave a room. Without a pet in our home during this time I think it would be very lonely.”

Stories like these are what drive our team of volunteers, staff and donors. Everyone deserves the love of a pet and we are proud to play a small part in providing compassionate services for the pets and people of south Georgian Bay.

Sonya Reichel

Stay informed on GTHS events, initiatives and programs. Learn how the GTHS team is serving the pets and people of the South Georgian Bay Area. Read heart-warming Happy Tails about GTHS Alumni. See a lot of really cute pictures of dogs and cats!