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How Much is That Doggy in the Window?

And how much does that doggy benefit my health? See why man's best friend is really and truly a benefit for life.

I spend the start of my mornings feeding my kids. And then I spend another portion feeding my pets. I sometimes compare it to a part-time job.

In addition to feeding them, I also spend a large chunk of my time cleaning their living quarters. And a fraction of my money will go toward their supplies. Taking care of my pets can really be a sizable and expensive chore.

Why would someone devote so much of their valuable time to an animal? For me that is an easy answer. I yield an enormous amount of advantages from the companionship.

It is like symbiosis. I rub your back, you rub mine. Give and take, take and give. Ketchup and mustard. The two complement each other on a number of levels. My health and wellness will benefit from these furry little companions. WebMD shows that owning a pet can improve your health. The article states that a pet can help lower blood pressure, lessen anxiety, boost our immunity and they can even help you get dates.

Here are some examples I have witnessed recently:

My mom’s dog works as a therapy dog for a nursing home. He is an amazing benefit for the residents. Pet therapy gives the residents an opportunity to feel affection from the animal and the love they feel can do wonders for their health.

I know a woman whose husband had passed. Her family had adopted an adult cat to keep her company. She loves having the pet for camaraderie. The same situation is with another neighbor who loves having her pet cat accompany her into the garden. It keeps life a little more interesting and a lot less lonely.

My grandfather was moved into a nursing home. He had a friendship with his dog and would only move into a pet friendly building. The two were able to walk together and stay active. I consider that a healthy give and take.

Lots of Lower Southampton residents take to the walking path daily at . They see each other regularly and can look forward to exercising with their canine companions. After all, most of us love to have a workout buddy.

My daughter loves to cuddle with one of our cats. He is her “buddy” and when she is upset, she will often find comfort in a cat hug. And although I enjoy all of our pets, I find great solace and comfort taking care of my water pond. It feels tranquil and gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Aside from these observed examples, research has also shown that pets are beneficial to humans as a whole. Pets originated back to the beginning of time. There are theories that cats are thought to be the first animal that was domesticated. Other theories believe dogs to be the first pets. Some originated as working animals but evolved into domestic pets.

So years of grooming and breeding brings us to today's pets. They range from fish to dogs, snakes to horses, guinea pigs to monkeys. A lot of animals have found their way into a loving home. People benefit because of increased activity and exercise and have an opportunity to socialize with other pet owners. Medically, having a pet can help decrease blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.

The website www.getupanddosomething.org encourages people who are depressed to get pets. One of their recent medical findings shows that people with dogs are more likely to be active. They found this group to sleep better, have a better fitness level and fewer sick days at work. They also note that having a pet is not for everyone. A person has to be able to take care of themselves before they can care for a pet. But if the situation is right, a pet can help people with depression.  

Are you interested in adopting a pet? Bucks County Alive has a list of local shelters. Bucks County SPCA also has great resources to get you started. If you cannot have a pet in your home then you can consider volunteering. That would be an unforgettable experience and you can still reap the health benefits.

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