The most renowned pink pug in the world, Milkshake the Pug or the Unicorn Pug‘s baby blue eyes and wrinkly pink nose help people reconnect with what matters – creating a happy space where people forget their problems and laugh at his daily Instagram antics or cuddle and take photos/give him treats in person. Man’s best friend, also known as dogs are proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Your pet doesn’t have to be specially trained to provide emotional support, especially in times during this pandemic. Simply introducing a dog into your home forces you to bring structure into your lifestyle through exercising your pet, feeding and caring for it. The presence of a dog in your company can also reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, which was the leading factor behind nearly 3 million households in the UK adopting a puppy during lockdown. Even if you don’t suffer from a diagnosed mental health disorder, you probably know what it’s like to be cheered up by your dog when you’re  having a bad day.

This trend isn’t just growing at home: Six in 10 companies plan to be more flexible in a post-pandemic world — to ensure Americans’ pets don’t get lonely throughout the day, according to new research.

A survey of 500 C-suite executives revealed 59% personally plan to allow more flexibility for employees wanting to stay remote with their pets, once they’re back in the workplace.

And it’s not just their companies: when asked about future trends, 72% of C-suite executives expect more workplaces will be pet-friendly after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pug makes a great support animal, mainly due to its warm, kind-hearted nature and ability to establish a powerful connection with its owners. Though they may be small, Pugs have a big heart and excellent intuition, meaning your pup will be able to sense when you need some extra love and support. 

Owner Maria de Dozsa shares some tips to improve mental health with your dog:

  • Make time every day for a walk with your dog in the fresh air. Try to stay off your phone and be present on the walk. I like to take a ball and treats to make it more interesting. Try to switch up your usual walking route every couple of days. 
  • Go to a puppy yoga or dog pilates class to tone, stretch, relax and meet other dog owners in a friendly and peaceful environment. Try a new activity with your dog each month that pushes you out of your comfort zone, whether it’s doing canine cross-country running (, going on a dog friendly boat ride, dog friendly paddle boarding or even surfing.
  • Trick training in an outside space (garden or park) that improves your dog’s fitness and yours. Running around cones, jumping over poles, walking along low beams, running through tunnels. 
  • Sign up to a charity dog walk and raise money for a good cause while getting fitter and healthier. There are a number of dog friendly charity walks e.g. Cancer Research UK, The Big Dog Walk etc.

Here is a sneak peak into Milkshake and Maria’s routine:

7am Wake up & breakfast

8am Morning walk

10am Snacks & playtime

1pm Afternoon walk

4pm Dinner

6pm Walk & playtime 

Maria says. ‘Since I have had him, I am healthier and fitter as a result of our daily walks and play. Encouraging me to regularly take breaks from my computer/phone and get out in the fresh air and explore has been really beneficial for my mental health. Milkshake is starting his journey of becoming a certified therapy dog with Pets As Therapy. Milkshake must be assessed by one of their qualified assessors and my references must be checked. He must have all of his vaccinations/boosters up to date. He will have the opportunity to volunteer at schools, hospitals and nursing homes as a certified therapy dog.

He also receives daily messages on social media from followers about how they have been in the hospital having surgery and it has really helped their recovery seeing Milkshake’s funny videos on Facebook every day to make them laugh and smile. Or those who have had a bad day/are struggling with depression/having a hard time at work, but seeing Milkshake every day lightens their mood and helps them to take a break from worrying, and relaxChildren with autism and ADHD have approached him in the park and after spending some time playing and holding Milkshake, say Milkshake helped them overcome communication issues and it gave them the desire to speak to me and ask questions about him.’