Cuddling with animals is a great way to relieve stress and feel happier. But you don’t need to have a pet at home to get a furry mood boost — just visit a local farm.
As it turns out, cows make terrific therapists! That’s why more and more people are getting their snuggle on with bovines around the world.
The therapeutic practice, called “koe knuffelen” (cow hugging) in Dutch, originated in the Netherlands. It quickly spread to other countries, including Switzerland and the U.S., and those who do it are surprised by how much joy it brings them.
Whether people are petting, hugging, brushing, or leaning up against a cow, their actions trigger a release of dopamine and serotonin and create a sense of peace and calm.
Clearly, the cows enjoy it just as much!
Suzanne Vullers, the owner of Mountain Horse Farm in Naples, New York, said it can even become a cathartic experience.
“People laugh, people cry. There’s a variety of emotions going on there,” she told Today. “It’s reconnecting with nature, connecting with animals, finding some quiet time for yourself, maybe process some thoughts or figure things out in your life.”
Of course, Suzanne never forces her cows to cuddle. Some of them just aren’t interested, so it’s important for the farmers who offer these sessions to pay attention and redirect visitors to more receptive bovines. That said, there are plenty of cows that welcome hugs and pets!
Cows are often referred to as big dogs, and it’s easy to see why! We only have one question: Where can we sign up?
Share this story with other animal lovers who would jump at the chance to cuddle a cow.
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