I’m an animal person, I always have been. Growing up I had pets ranging from hamsters to horses. I knew I loved them, but I didn’t know the benefit of pets for a person’s health was scientifically proven.
I wanted a dog for years, but when I was single and working full time night shift I couldn’t figure out how to make it work, and the first couple years of our marriage were the same. It was always “after we do this” or “after that happens”, but it just never seemed like the right time.
Levi had been working out of town for a few months when he got a phone call from his dad (also his boss). He said that the out of town work was going to be extended, as soon as he hung up the phone I looked at him and said “We’re getting a dog”.
We got Yankee the Doodle in September of 2019. Getting him was a bright spot in a really hard season of life (our story), and now he is more than just a pet, he’s a family member.
The Benefit of Pets
So why should you get a pet when you’re going through fertility treatments? It has been proven that animals have a positive impact on a persons mental and physical health. And we all know that when we’re going through infertility we need all the help we can get in both of these areas.
Animals are excellent companions and have an incredible gift for showing compassion. Studies have shown that having a pet is strongly related to a persons psychological well being. This includes a better mood, increased happiness and self esteem. Not to mention lower rates of depression, loneliness and perceived stress. There are also physical benefits. Having a pet encourages activity which is obviously good for you, and it has even been shown that simply being in the same room as a friendly dog can help lower your blood pressure. How cool is that?!
How Does This Relate to Fertility?
These might not be specific to infertility, but if you’re reading this chances are you understand how they relate. Depression and anxiety related to infertility are very common, and something I know I struggled with. Another struggle is managing the stress of infertility and treatments. The higher your stress, the higher your cortisol level will be, which is a signal to your body that it isn’t a good time to get pregnant. Thus perpetuating the vicious cycle. And it’s been proven that animals can help with all of that!
A pet might not be the miracle cure for infertility, but the can make the process a lot more bearable. I know it did for me. (If you want some other ideas of how to not lose yourself in the process check out this post).
The majority of the time, when we talk about pets we’re referring to dogs or cats. But the benefits of having a pet are not limited to just these two. It can be a bunny, a hamster, a reptile, a bird. Or if you live somewhere you could have larger animals, maybe a goat, or a horse, or anything!
*Side note* If you ever need a quick pick-me-up I would highly recommend videos of baby goats in pajamas!
How Having a Pet Helped Me
For me, it was so nice to have someone else in the house when Levi was away. I slept better at night and Yankee forced me to get up and be active during the day. Yankee goes every where with me, and while many might say that I love him too much, he really helped save me from my darkest time.
While animals don’t replace children by any means, they help fulfill the need to care for and love someone, and in return they love you unconditionally. We just celebrated three years with Yankee, and although we have our baby now, I am grateful every day for the sweet spirit and healing he has brought into our home.
Thank you for being here! I would LOVE to hear about your pets and how they have helped you through your difficult times!