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Pets 101

A Multitude Of Reasons To Own A Pet

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Whether the pet is a dog or cat, or another kind of pet such as a bird or fish in an aquarium, the effect on the people with whom they live can be extremely positive. For instance:

  • Pets have been shown to reduce:
    • Stress
    • Depression
    • Feelings of loneliness and isolation. (The presence of pets also makes it easier to express emotions).
    • Pain (yes, pain)
    • Blood pressure (by releasing the hormone oxytocin which has been shown to lower blood pressure)
    • Cholesterol levels
  • Pets can bring a renewed feeling of joy and playfulness. Studies show that the central nervous system releases several hormones that cause feelings of pleasure with a sense of warmth, nurturing and calm.
  • Heart attack patients with pets have longer survival rates.
  • Seniors who are dog owners have fewer doctor visits. Dog ownership also promotes regular exercise.
  • Pets help children cope with the serious illness or death of a parent of loved one.
  • Pet owners enjoy better physical health as a result of exercise with their pets.
  • Pets fulfill many of the same support functions of humans for both adults and children. 
  • You can help other people who are in hospital by training your pet to participate in a program that trains and certifies pets to visit hospitalized patients. For example, Delta  or Pet Partners offsite link.
  • Remind us to live in the moment - just like they do.

To learn more, see: The Healing Power Of Pets by Dr. Marty Becker, Hyperion, New York, 2002. (Inexpensive used copies are available through such web sites as Barnes and Noble: offsite link

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