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The Furry Effect

How animals can impact a person’s mental and physical wellbeing.

“Do animals understand us?”

This is a question that has been posed by many over time, and those who have studied and looked over how animals behave around people would say that animals are smarter than they are given credit for. Though they may not be able to speak, animals observe more than humans realize. Animals can have a wonderful effect on people struggling with depression, health issues, anxiety, mental disorders, loneliness, and other problems. It should come as no surprise that cats are placed in senior homes and brought to cancer wards to sit with the elderly and patients as they have been known to increase the serotonin levels in those struggling with depression and anxiety.

However, cats are not the only animals that can spark joy in a person. Dogs are used as service animals, mainly because of how they know how to give and receive love and care. Most animals, for similar reasons, are under-credited for how much they contribute to a human’s wellbeing.

Such can be observed in ‘Like No Other Boy’ by Larry Center, which follows the powerful story of a boy living with autism, who finds comfort and love with the chimpanzees at his local zoo. The chimpanzees have such a strong effect on the boy that it prompts more communication out of him and encourages him to feel more at ease with his surroundings.

The story puts major emphasis on the impact that animals can have on people, namely those struggling with their individual problems. It allows people to imagine the extent to which animals can help you overcome major obstacles in your life by having a calming presence that soothes you and keeps you whole. The love brought into your life by an animal is, therefore, the most irreplaceable love of all, and further drives the notion that animals really can understand us, what we need and how we feel.

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