Our pets, however, don’t share that lifestyle. No cell phones, tablets or remote controls for them, though I am sure my dog and cat practice daily with the can opener while I am gone. My pets are fortunate not to have thumbs at this point in evolution. Providing for our pet’s basic needs falls into some of life’s simple functions; walking the dog, petting the cat, feeding them, brushing, etc. — these are the things that force us to slow down and spend a moment peacefully. Unless you’re trying to brush a cat like mine, then it’s more like a fight-or-flight moment!
One of these studies I mentioned discusses the health benefits at great length. Our hearts in particular are kept much healthier with a pet in residence. Ohio State University’s Ross Heart Hospital has a brochure for clients about how a pet can be “Heart Healthy.” It discusses how sharing your life with a pet can reduce headaches and loneliness while increasing fulfillment and quality of life for all ages.
The different organizations and programs using the emotional benefits pets give us can be found in all of our communities. Many of our children with educational special needs to kids with medical issues or emotional problems have benefited greatly from pets helping them. Your local library will have information about those programs available in your community. Nursing homes worldwide have seen improvements in patients when a pet was in residence.
The many programs where dogs are employed to help our veterans with physical and emotional needs are wonderfully successful. Many of the humane societies and veteran agencies have information regarding contact information for individuals interested in more information for a veteran in need.
The casual activity of petting your dog causes the blood pressure to lower and the mind to slow its race. That simple gesture can actually give you a boost emotionally. The fast pace we keep now and the demands on us daily cannot go unchecked without negative effects. The joy from spending time with our pets for a few minutes to a few hours cannot be bought at the store or found on the Internet. We all need to stop and breathe daily — what a wonderful way to do just that!