For those of us who have pets, it is indescribable the amount of love we feel towards them. They’re the companions we’ve grown up with since childhood. When we come home from a long day at work or school, they’re the little bundles of happiness that bring a smile to our face. They’re the much-needed unconditional love during the rough patches in life. For those that have not gotten the chance to experience the pleasure of owning a pet, this just might be the time to fill that lingering void with a furry friend.
For younger children, pets are a gateway to learning about responsibility, empathy, and compassion. Not only that, but pets have the potential to foster emotional, cognitive, social, and physical development. Into adulthood, pets continue to take on a significant meaning. You’ve seen in the news the astonishing acts of dogs using their extraordinary senses to save lives. Take, for example, the German Shorthaired in Minnesota who tugged his owner to a 94-year-old man who was frozen to the ground and still alive. Even the courageous tales of cats noticing oddities in the middle of the night, like the kitten in Montana that pawed her owner until he awoke to find a gas leak in the house.
More often than extraordinary events are the everyday effects animals can have on a person’s physical and mental health. On average, those who own a pet live two years longer than those who do not. Not only that, but humans and dogs share the hormone, oxytocin, which is released during mutual interactions. Oxytocin can reduce blood pressure, increase pain tolerance, and reduce anxiety. Moreover, dogs can learn to detect and warn owners of oncoming seizure before they happen. Can your best human friend do that? Don’t think so.
Owning a pet has its mental health benefits as well. Animals are known to increase serotonin (the “feel-good” hormone) levels as well as make you feel less anxious and stressed. Therapists have even prescribed a pet as a way of dealing with and recovering from depression. Now that’s some healing power.
Rescuing a pet for your family might be a good move that benefits everyone involved. Check out the infographic below to learn more about how a pet just might save your life… while you save his.
courtesy of Carlton Hobbs Antiques