Best Friends Animal Society Explains How Pets Can Help Transform the Holiday Blues to Merry and Bright

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The holiday season should be joyful, merry, and bright. But for some, the family get togethers, holiday parties, and increased financial responsibilities exacerbate feelings of sadness, loneliness, depression, and anxiety. 

One way to combat the isolation and increased depression that many people may experience during what’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year is to consider adopting or fostering a pet in need. 

“Dogs didn’t get the title man’s best friend for nothing,” said Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society, a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of cats and dogs in America’s shelters by 2025. “Dogs and cats are incredible companions, and they really have a positive impact on our overall mental health. These loving creatures can help reduce stress and feelings of loneliness and isolation not only during the holiday season, but all year-round.” 

Studies have also shown that eye contact with your dog can release oxytocin—known as the love hormone—which can relieve both anxiety and depression. Additionally, simply being around pets can lower cortisol, which in turn, helps reduce feelings of stress, which can be amplified around the holidays. 

To help adopters bring a new dog or cat home this holiday season, Embrace Pet Insurance is covering adoption fees at all Best Friends Animal Society lifesaving centers and programs in Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Northwest Arkansas, Salt Lake City, and sanctuary in Kanab, Utah through December 31. Pets at Best Friends are fixed, vaccinated, microchipped, and ready to go home. 

National data trends show that 2022 has been a tough year for shelters. Across the country, shelters are struggling with higher intake, while adoptions, fosters and rescues are not keeping pace. This has led to a population imbalance, with more animals in shelters staying for longer periods, and causing increased strain on shelter staff. This has led to the current crisis of most U.S. shelters being at or over capacity, resulting in pets being more at risk for being killed due to lack of space. 

“If you are unable to adopt or foster at this time, please consider volunteering with your local animal rescue group or shelter,” urged Castle. “And, you never know, you may just fall in love and bring home your very own pet just in time for the holidays.” 

For more information or to find a Best Friends location near you, visit

***If you are experiencing feelings of depression, please reach out to a doctor or mental health provider or call SAMHSA’s free national hotline (open 24/7) at 800-662-HELP.*** 



About Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 378,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 4,400 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit