Have you ever went to a store with the clear intentions of exactly what you are buying, but end up with a bunch of other stuff instead? Yea…we’ve all been there and truth be told that is what makes life so darn interesting.
This man innocently claims that he has always been a “dog person” and he was only looking to adopt a dog. He went to his local animal shelter with the intentions of bringing home a dog; however, when he arrived he was surprised to find that no dogs were available as they’ve all been adopted! There was however one kitty, named Marbles, who was in a cage at the back of the room and the woman there said she was available.
“I opened the cage, picked her up and that was it. She started meowing the most pathetic little chirps as she pushed her face to the brim of my cap (this is when they got the picture), only to be backed by a rumble of purring. I turned into a huge sap,” he said.
“I didn’t like or ever want cats before this. Simply put; I shook my head with a nod of acceptance, put her back in the cage for a brief moment while I did the paperwork, and got ready to take her home. They didn’t have pups, but they did have my best bud. I was not a cat guy, but I guess you could say I’m a cat guy now.”
So he opened her cage and the kitten started meowing excitedly. He picked her up and Marbles pushed her face into the brim of his cap, his heart immediately melted. He adopted Marbles and soon changed her name to Barb. Thanks to the love and support of this man, Barb is now a beautiful, sweet and feisty kitty.
“She is definitely the matriarch of the household as she keeps all of the other creatures in check. A cuddler and purrer for sure. She still acts like a needy little kitten – loves all people.”
About six months after he adopted Barb, he went back and adopted Rupert the dog. They soon became inseparable friends and spend most of their time playing and snuggling each other.
“They are always playing or snuggling when they aren’t snuggled up to us.”
“Now Barbara and I are best buds accompanied by my pup, Rupert, along with my girlfriend and her two cats, Bruce and Joe. It’s a good life.”
It has been three years since he adopted Barb and we wish them the very best!
An empty animal shelter, that’s the kind we like the best!
10 Mental & Physical Health Benefits of Having Pets
Pets are family members. Like humans, they need love, health care, and attention. But pet parents’ relationships with their pets are not one sided. Pets give so much back in return, improving the health of our minds, bodies, and hearts.
The benefits of having pets are plentiful — and scientifically proven. Pets help their humans live longer, happier, and healthier lives mentally and physically. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) gathers the latest information on the positive health effects of companion animals. These researchers help make the case for adding a pet to a household.
From reducing the risk of heart attacks to alleviating loneliness, these furry family members are contributing to healthy communities.
Let’s talk about those benefits.
Better Mental Health
Pets can contribute to positive mental health through emotional work and practical work. The emotional work can be described as alleviating worries, stress, and depression. You may have noticed that your pet wastes no time noticing and springing into action when you are upset or sad. Their intuition is what makes them great support and therapy animals, and animal-assisted therapy is effective in treating PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Then there’s the practical work that comes with caring for a pet. This means making sure their individual needs are met. Developing a daily routine of walks and feeding times can help pet parents with mental health conditions feel a sense of purpose that affects other areas of their lives.
The Data: Pets and Mental Health
A 2016 HABRI study explored the role of pets in the social networks of people managing a long‑term mental health problem.
- Pets were found to contribute to a stronger sense of identity in pet owners with mental health conditions, including reducing negative perceptions of a mental health condition or diagnosis.
- Pets provide a sense of security and routine in the relationship, which reinforces stable cognition.
- Pets provide a distraction and disruption from distressing symptoms, such as hearing voices, suicidal thoughts, rumination, and facilitating routine and exercise for those who care for them.
Better Physical Health
Every little bit counts when it comes to physical health benefits, and those daily walks really add up for dog owners. Since they are more likely to meet the criteria for regular moderate exercise, dog parents have lower instances of obesity.
Your heart is one of the biggest spots to see the full benefits of pet ownership. Just the presence of animals has significant impacts on blood pressure, with pet owners having a lower resting blood pressure than people without pet babies.
Cat parents aren’t left out of the healthy heart race. A feline friend in your home reduces your risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attacks. According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), people without cats have a 40% higher relative risk of heart attack than non‑cat owners.
The Data: Pets and Physical Health
- Approximately 60% of dog walkers met the criteria for regular moderate and/or vigorous leisure‑time physical activity compared with about 45% for non‑dog owners and dog owners who did not walk their dog in a 2005 Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey.
- In a study of adults over the age of 50 with mildly elevated blood pressure, the presence of a pet dog or cat had a significant impact on blood pressure, with dog ownership being associated with lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure compared to people who did not own pets.
- A study of over 2,400 cat owners concluded there was a significantly lower relative risk for death due to cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attack, compared to non‑owners during a 20‑year follow‑up.
Healthier Aging Process
Research has shown that older adults get social and emotional support from their pets that combats loneliness and depression. Aside from promoting exercise and reducing stress, pets also assist in the treatment of long‑term diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Pet companionship is also key for hospital and cancer patients. When coupled with animal-assisted activities, pets help patients with pain management and in interactions with doctors and nurses. Those patients also responded better to treatments and reported improvements in their quality of life.
The Data: Pets and Aging
- Results of a study of older adults who live alone suggest that pet ownership may act as a buffer against loneliness.
- Results of a one-year study that examined the impact of animal‑assisted therapy (AAT) on patients with chronic pain demonstrated that, following AAT, patients reported reduced pain, discomfort, and stress. Additionally, stress among nursing staff was found to decrease significantly following AAT.
- A study of older adults with mental illness living in long‑term care facilities concluded that AAT reduced depressive symptoms and improved cognitive function.
When we look at the data on mental health, physical health, and aging, it’s clear that pets contribute much to people’s lives in these areas, as well as being the loving companions we’ve always known they are.