Having grown up with pulmonary hypertension, 21-year-old Kaylee Mynot knows a thing or two about life with a rare disease. In her latest blog for us, she reflects on some of the surprising ways that her pets have benefitted her wellbeing.

I have been a massive animal lover my whole life and have always had pets growing up. But as I’ve got older, I’ve begun to realise how much of a positive impact they’ve had on my physical and mental health, especially during the pandemic. So let me introduce you to all my pets!

First there’s my corn snake Sweetcorn, who I’ve had since I was ten. It was actually a PHA UK family weekend that made me want a snake, as they had reptiles there one year that we could hold and learn about.

Then there’s Star our Border Collie; she’s my best friend and means so much to me.

Then we have Mateo our Bengal cross cat. We got him during a break in lockdowns and he’s honestly changed my life. We do everything together and he really does mean the world to me.

Mateo has always been a well-travelled cat, he loves car rides, visiting family, and going out on little adventures to viewpoints and forests etc. Mateo definitely encourages me to go out more and be more active. He’s also the best nap buddy when I’m not feeling well!

Last but not least, we have my hamsters! Aspynn, Axxie, Alaiya, Aloona, Alivia, Alizah, Aries, Aleksis and our foster hamsters Violet and Oliver.

Believe it or not, my hamsters have given me so much confidence. When I started owning them, I had no idea about proper care (like lots of other people). But when I learnt how big their enclosures needed to be and how much they actually need to thrive, I wanted other people to know and learn. So, I decided to start Instagram and Tik Tok accounts to advocate for proper care. 

I was not expecting to get so many followers, my accounts grew pretty quickly, and I now have over 25,000 followers on Tik Tok. This has also enabled me to meet and talk to so many likeminded people across the world.

I met my best friends though hamster owning too, and I can’t imagine life without them now.

Me and my friend Charlie now run a rescue and rescue hamsters in need. It has been so rewarding, seeing the hamsters go to amazing homes after being in such bad conditions.

Unfortunately, not many people know about the specific needs of a hamster, so it’s been such an amazing experience being able to educate people through social media.

Quite honestly, I don’t think I would have got through lockdowns without the animals. I haven’t ever really had many friends so having so many pets has been such a comfort for me, they really are like mini best friends.

Owning pets has really made me enjoy everything more, I think I’d be lost without them.

Pet ownership has really helped me not to dwell on the fact I have PH, as it gives me something else to focus on. It’s nice to be able to look after something, as usually it’s everyone looking after me!

Pets really do have a massive impact on our lives, and I can’t thank my beautiful animals enough for everything they have helped me through.