It has become an accepted fact in the medical field that pet ownership plays a significant role in a person’s overall health. How in the world does this happen? I mean, they cost money, make messes, are another thing to care for and plan for, they require attention, and are generally one more thing to think about in a life that is probably more than full as it is! Studies show and Physicians claim that pet ownership reduces stress; heart rates are lower and people are generally calmer if there is a pet in the household. As a matter of fact, it has been proven that heart attack survival and recovery rates are significantly better among those that own a pet. Further, male pet owners have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than non pet owners. It has been documented that Aids patients are far less prone to depression if they own a pet. If there is a pet in the family, Alzheimer patients have fewer anxious outbursts than those in families without pets. There is even significant scientific evidence that shows infants in families with pets will have significantly reduced allergies, potential for asthma, and skin conditions such as eczema.
What is happening here? Well, I have a few theories. It is my belief that everything in our body is connected; deep, I know, but I’m not kidding. And at the center of it all is your mind and heart. I think that in most cases, it starts with our focus. Take a hang nail for example. If you just look at it; it hurts. But then you answer the phone and go on about your life it probably won’t hamper you from accomplishing anything that you need to. Same hang nail is still there, but the mind has put the pain on the back burner. Having a pet takes one out of the generally self-centered culture we have created and forces us to care for something other than ourselves. You play with the cat, you don’t think about all the ‘garbage’ you may be dealing with in real life. Every minute you can escape the negative, you add time to your life in the end. A pet gives you an escape to happiness, am I right? It’s a little bit more difficult to stay uptight, or angry, or worried when you are interacting with your animal. After all, I think Cindy Lauper got it wrong, it’s not girls, but pets that “just wanna have fun!” Secondly, we can be ‘us’ with our pet. No masks. No pretending. No secrets. I mean, really, who are they going to tell? We can trust them with any tidbit of info without fear that it will come back and ‘bite’ us in the backside. Finally, you are truly important to your pet. You are needed by them and they acknowledge it, they respond, and they love unconditionally; they give us a sense of self value. I mean, even our kids (who we know need us, at say, 13) think they can do it without us. They are embarrassed of us in front of their friends, generally discount everything out of our mouths because we “don’t understand!”, and truly believe they know it all. The family pet doesn’t give you that attitude at all. All you have to do is walk in the house and you have their attention.
And your world becomes a little bit better place to be and you become a bit healthier.