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Published on January 24, 2014

The Power of Pets

January 24, 2014

hand petting catSharing your life with a furry friend can offer an abundant supply of joy and companionship.

The American Veterinary Medicine Association reports that more than half of Illinois residents are pet owners. A pet’s unconditional love and supportive presence can help reduce anxiety and stress, alleviate depression, serve as protection, and help increase physical activity level. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology find the loyal companionship of a pet provides can help fill the social and emotional void of living alone.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, many recently separated, divorced, or widowed men and women turn to pets in an effort to re-establish a sense of comfort and family security.

I’ll Be There

The simple act of petting a dog or enjoying the calming presence of a purring cat can have substantial benefits on person’s health, lowering elevated blood pressure, heart  rate, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Watching fish swim in an aquarium, brushing a horse, or observing tropical birds in a cage can be therapeutic as well.

A pet’s positive energy and enthusiasm can inspire and increase optimism, giving a sense of purpose and hope to daily living for older adults struggling with depression or patients battling serious health problems such as heart disease, cancer, or terminal illness. Getting out and staying active by taking the dog for a walk or to the dog park, grooming the cat, or spending quite time alone with a pet can calm frustrations and help provide perspective during troubling times.

Taking in a pet means providing a responsible “forever home” and a standard of care that can be costly, yet the unbreakable bond between an animal and a human is priceless.

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