themighty logo

17 Ways Pets Help People Cope With Loneliness

For people with pets, many of us have special bonds with our animals. They get happy when we’re happy, and when something is wrong, they can tell something is up. If you’re ever feeling lonely about being isolated from other people, your pet may try and put a smile on your face — or just make you smile without even trying.

While most people have now experienced being isolated from other people because of the coronavirus pandemic, it can be a norm for many people who live with chronic and mental illness. In an article for The Mighty, contributor Noelle Chelli Lopez shared how her dog helps her cope with the loneliness that comes with having a chronic illness:

Boredom is something all of us who are chronically ill know all too well. There’s definitely entertainment value in having a pet. Bear has an amazing way of making me laugh and smile. I also like to train him to do little tasks to help me out around the house. He drags the laundry basket to the laundry room for me and can even fetch my purse!

We asked our chronic illness and mental health communities to share how having a pet helps them cope with loneliness. If you’re debating whether or not to get an animal, you may find their responses to be helpful. Regardless, you can look at photos of their cute pets!

A banner promoting The Mighty's new Distract Me group on The Mighty mobile app. The banner reads, Need someone or something to take your mind off what you're going through? Join Distract Me for fun activities, lighthearted conversation, animal photos and more. Click to join.

Here is what they had to share:

1. ‘He always seems to know if I’m in pain.’

“He always seems to know if I’m in pain, physically or emotionally, and then he will crawl on top of me or next to me and won’t budge. It’s like he just wants me to know I’m not alone. I’d do anything for him and vice versa.” – Monika S.

2. ‘They make me feel better on my worst days.’

Two small dogs look up while in bed.

“Marley and Maggie are such awesome cuddlers! They both can make me feel better on my worst days!” – Amber T.

3. ‘She is my mini best friend.”

A selfie of a cat and a woman

“She talks to me, follows me around and cuddles with me in the bed at night! All this helps me feel like I have a mini best friend in the harder times and I wouldn’t be without her!” – Abby W.

4. ‘He gives me a reason to get dressed and get out of the house.’

A woman cuddles with a pug

Boson gave me a reason to get dressed and get out of the house. He helped me find friends by making friends with their dogs. He gives me someone to talk to when no one is there.” – Heather Y.

5. ‘He’s been there for me for over 19 years.’

A brown and white horse at a stable

“He’s been there for me for over 19 years. Every day, he gives me a reason to get up and look after myself, so that I can look after him.” – Kristine O.

6. ‘If I’m upset, he’ll do something silly.’

A small white dog under a dog bed.

“Here’s my little goof, Lucky. If I’m feeling upset, he’ll just know and do something silly. Like in the photo! Why go on the bed when you can go under?” – Heera M.

7. ‘My girls have been my support system.’

Two white and brown cats look at a camera

“My girls Dot and Daisy have been my support system! I self-isolated starting in February and hadn’t left the house for 65 days. Then, I was hospitalized for 21 days for a flare, and they haven’t left my side since I’ve been home.” – Allie H.

8. ‘It’s nice to know that I’m not alone.’

A person holds his dog on a couch

“Isabeau helps me get through those bad days. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone and to have a cuddle buddy on the couch. She makes me laugh and gives me things to do throughout the day like going for walks.” – Jordyn G.

9. ‘My three cats will groom me.’

A cat looks a woman's head

“When I’m having a dip in mood, my three cats either groom me, place their paw on my face or sleep near me.” – Annabel C.

10. ‘She has helped me cope with loss and grief.’

A woman cuddles with a black dog

“Jessie is my heart and soul. We recently lost our other beloved dog, and she has helped me cope with the loss and grief. She basically keeps me alive during my worst times. She’s my everything.” – Justine A.

11.  ‘She will literally hold my hand.’

A brown dog holding a woman's hand

“This girl will literally hold my hand to make sure I’m giving her love, and cuddles up to me when I am crying! She has honestly been my light.” – Tamika G.

12.’He’s the reason I get up in the morning.’

A white cat

“He’s the reason I get up in the morning.” – Melanie M.

13. ‘This girl gives me an excuse to go outside.’

A black dog lying on a couch

“My Pepper loves playing fetch! Being outdoors and exercising helps my fibro fatigue, and this girl gives me an excuse to get outside.” – Liz T.

14. ‘We understand each other.’

A woman cuddles with a black and white cat

“I have a lot of anxiety when I’m home alone at night, and he will stay by my side the whole time. He himself seems to have some anxiety issues, so I think we understand each other. Together, we are never lonely.” – Caitlin S.

15. ‘I’ve been working from home, and this guy keeps me company.’

A brownish dog looks ahead

“I’ve been working from home for three months, and this guy keeps me company.” – Svitlana B.

16. ‘He begs for attention.’

“My cat, Callie, always comes running when I get home and begs for attention.” – Laura O.

17. ‘She brings light and joy to everything.’

A small white dog

“My beautiful Mollie always looks after me, and she brings light and joy to everything.” – Gemma S.

If you want to share a photo with your pet and let us know how they help you, post a Thought with the hashtag #MightyPets using The Mighty’s free app.