Experts at the Mental Health Foundation says the companionship offered by a pet is a great way to reduce anxiety and stress.
"A pet can be a great source of comfort, companionship and motivation for their owners," their website states. "In many ways, pets can help us to live mentally healthier lives.”
Sky Pet Centre offer a huge range of exotic animals from birds to rodents, along with all the advice and support you'll need to take care of them.
Owning a pet can be great for children’s happiness and wellbeing, as well as teaching them valuable lessons about routine and responsibility.
Several studies have shown that patting a dog or cat, or simply being in the presence of them, can lower blood pressure: one Washington State University study in 2019 found that just 10 minutes of interacting with cats and dogs produced a significant reduction in students' cortisol, a major stress hormone.
At Sky Pet Centre, they specialise in smaller animals like guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, hamsters and gerbils, as well as cute chinchillas and degus – all perfect for stress-relieving stroking.
They also sell a variety of exotic birds for those looking for a colourful and quirky addition to their household, from finches, lovebirds and canaries to parrots and parakeets.
Owner Claire Smith says that a budgie can make the ideal pet for children of all ages, especially for young teenagers. “They become really friendly and come when you call and you can really build up a bond with them,” she explains.
The shop, which opened in October, has had a busy six months despite the national lockdown: pet shops have been open throughout as they are classed as an essential service.
Claire has seen plenty of children adopting a new member of the family during that time – and been delighted that this shows no sign of slowing now that schools are open again.
“Pets need daily care and this creates a regular routine for their caretakers,” she says. “Even now children have returned to school it is still so important that they learn to feed, exercise and clean up after their pet as this helps them to learn about responsible behaviour.
“It also gives a sense of structure which creates stability and makes it easier to deal with unpredictable situations – like we are facing now.”
All the birds at Sky Pet Centre are supplied by her cousin and business partner Guy Smith, who has been breeding and supplying birds through his organisation Sky Birds Sales for more than 30 years.
The pair takes great care to ensure that all the pets they sell are from thoroughly vetted professional breeders either locally or further afield, and they also breed some of the small animals themselves.
Pick your perfect fluffy or feathery companion today at Sky Pet Centre on Towcester Road in Whittlebury, where you can find everything you need to welcome the new addition to the family, from starter kits to food and toys.
You can also buy supplies online at www.skypetcentre.co.uk/store