Paws for Mental Health

Wellstone promotes positive role of pets

Photo contributed

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman and Madison County-based mental health service Wellstone is celebrating Mental Health Month, and the organization is calling on our animal friends to help. On Sunday, May 22, 2022, “Paws for Mental Health” at Heritage Park’s dog park will feature cutest dog and costume contests, as well as a parade around the park. Wellstone CEO Chris Van Dyke hopes that the event will make people’s day better by interacting with their pets and with other like-minded folks.

“We want this event to encourage people to take care of their mental health and this year we are highlighting the impact pets can have on us,” said Van Dyke. “Pet ownership can be very beneficial for mental health! Not only do they tend to show their owners unconditional love, loyalty and affection, but they also provide a calming presence that can help with happiness and wellbeing. Interacting with a friendly pet can reduce levels of stress which in turn can affect how you cope with overwhelming emotions that may accompany depression and anxiety.

“If you’re struggling with emotional or mental health issues, a pet can help you get on top of your self-care. A reliable routine can also be counted among the mental health benefits of owning a pet. Walking, feeding, playing and litter box / back yard duties can help give life a sense of structure. Just getting out to walk a dog can provide the exercise that can make a real change in depression levels.  In addition to the physical benefits of daily walks with your dog, you may have more opportunities to interact with neighbors.”

At a glance

Paws for Mental Health, hosted by Wellstone

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Heritage Park dog park

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Registration 5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Contests begin at 5:45 p.m.

$5 registration fee per contest

Please keep pets on a leash at all times.

Visit Wellstone’s website for more information:

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W.C. Mann