People Claim Cow-Hugging Relieves Stress
I truly believe that animals can provide emotional support. Their presence is even therapeutic! I've lived in a home without a pet and I've lived in home with pets and there was always a major difference in the way I felt. When I heard about "cow-hugging" I thought it was a little strange sure but I don't doubt the benefits.
Cow cuddling or “koe knuffelen” in Dutch, originates in the Netherlands. Apparently it's a big deal there because cow cuddlers typically start by taking a tour of the farm and then are invited to lean up and snuggle against one of the cows for a few hours. Cow hugging promotes positivity and can actually reduce stress by boosting oxytocin in your body - the same hormone released in social bonding.
According to BBC, "the cow’s warmer body temperature, slower heartbeat and mammoth size can make hugging them an incredibly soothing experience." It's the same idea as curling up with your dog or cat at home but it appears that the therapeutic feelings are even more beneficial when cuddling with larger mammals.
"Cows are very relaxed animals, they don’t fight, they don’t get in trouble," a farm owner who promotes the practice told BBC. "You come to the fields and we have some special hugging cows and you can lay next to [them] — people think it's very relaxing."
This is also more proof that animals, farm animals specifically, are very emotionally intelligent beings. I know someone around here has a cow they'll let me come snuggle!