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The unbreakable bond: the mental health benefits and challenges of pet ownership for people experiencing homelessness

Cleary, M ORCID: 0000-0002-1453-4850, West, S, Visentin, D ORCID: 0000-0001-9961-4384, Phipps, M, Westman, M, Vesk, K and Kornhaber, R ORCID: 0000-0001-6556-6775 2020 , 'The unbreakable bond: the mental health benefits and challenges of pet ownership for people experiencing homelessness' , Issues in Mental Health Nursing, no. Novemb , pp. 1-6 , doi: 10.1080/01612840.2020.1843096.

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Abstract

Pet ownership provides a unique relationship that is beneficial to many aspects of the pet owner’slife, including mental health and companionship. Mental health and social isolation are negativelyimpacted by homelessness, increasing the importance of the owner-pet bond during this time.However, this relationship is complicated by the need for pet owners to urgently findaccommodation for themselves while still caring for their pets. This paper explores two firsthandnarratives of the relationship between a person and their pets during a period of homelessnessand subsequent search for accommodation. Both narratives highlight important aspects ofthe emotional bond between owner and pet: the concept of choosing pet over place; improvedmental health and changed behaviours; and stressors or negative emotions of parental concern,separation anxiety and grief. These narratives emphasise the importance of supporting, expandingand creating new pet-friendly crisis and permanent accommodation options for pet ownersexperiencing homelessness.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Cleary, M and West, S and Visentin, D and Phipps, M and Westman, M and Vesk, K and Kornhaber, R
Keywords: mental health, pet ownership, homelessness
Journal or Publication Title: Issues in Mental Health Nursing
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc.
ISSN: 0161-2840
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/01612840.2020.1843096
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

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