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Pets & Animals

We love our pets and animals. Some people love dogs, but hate cats. Some people love cats, but hate dogs. Some people adore their pet pythons. There is an obvious connection between humans, pets, and animals, and something guides us to select the type of pet that we have. There must be some sort of genetic code that causes some of us to fall in love with the funny face of a Bulldog, but reject the small Chihuahua next to it.

Facts and studies show that owning pets is good for us. Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression, have lower blood pressure under stressful situations, have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than non-pet owners, and older pet owners actually visit their doctors 30% fewer than non-pet owners.

One of the benefits of pet ownership, especially for those who live alone, is the benefit of touch by stroking, cuddling, and holding our pets. It raises serotonin levels and helps us relax. After a hard day at the office, sitting down to stroke your pet hello is a good way to switch off the stresses of the day and relax. Caring for a pet also provides us with a sense of responsibility, which can help us lead a healthier lifestyle. Knowing that you have someone dependent on you can help you make wise choices in nutrition, exercise, and how late you stay out at night. It provides structure and routine to the day.

For dog owners, walking their dogs is not just good exercise; it can lead to a better social life, since people often stop to converse about pets and stoop to give them a pet.

For older people, the benefits of owning pets have already been well documented. Aging causes us to lose things that once gave our life purpose, and pets re-fulfill that need. Children leave home, while we retire and no longer have to go to the office. Pets often take the place of family and give us a feeling of self-worth.

Less well known is the fact that children who grow up in homes with pets also benefit. They are less at risk for allergies, learn responsibility, compassion, and empathy, and when in trouble with mom and dad, pets are not critical. Playing with pets stimulates the imagination, and rewarding pets teaches children that striving to learn brings benefits.

Just as stroking a cat’s fur calms us, for the python owner, the results are the same. Pets provide a non-critical love and need that helps us feel better about our world, our lives, and ourselves.