We all love our pets and to some of us, they are family. What are very often overlooked are the benefits to pet ownership.
Studies have shown that petting our little friends not only reduces our heart rate but also helps us emotionally. Just stroking our buddy on our laps often reduces stress, even though we are very often unaware of it. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has published research which shows that pet owners have lower cholesterol levels. Take that, Honey Nut Cheerios!
The social benefits to dog walking are enormous, notwithstanding the exercise we gain from this activity. We get to meet and speak to people that, in the normal course of events, we would walk past without a second thought. It’s like being in a special club. I have had many interesting conversations with fellow dog owners while we make our daily rounds.
Pets have routines and dialogue with their owners in ways only they understand. Routines develop over time and the more our lives interact with these routines, the stronger the bond becomes. Take care when introducing another animal to the family. I have often heard people say, “they will get along fine with each other;” with little regard to the change of the existing pet’s routine and the bond between current pet and owner. Relationships between pet and owner are more complex than many people may realize.
Therapy dogs are a very welcome addition to treatment plans, particularly for the elderly. The therapeutic effect of hugging an animal should not be underestimated.
Our furry, feathered and finned friends ask very little from us, yet they give a whole lot in return.
Considering pet ownership? Please adopt from one of the many animal shelters around the country, such as the excellent Homeward Pet rescue center.