For these people with depression, all treatment approaches had failed, but then they adopted a pet

The portuguese study says that looking after a pet involves “a strong affinity and companionship that strongly contributes to mental health”, but a major weakness of the study is that it depended on participants volunteering to adopt a pet (rather than on random allocation to the pet adoption condition) – so, although pet-adopters and the controls were matched for baseline depression symptoms, there may have been other ways that they differed.

bps.org.uk

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