All You Need Is (pet) Love

All You Need Is (pet) Love

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  1. Animals are great, especially dogs and cats. We all know we have to take care of our pets, but do we really appreciate what they do for us?

    Studies have shown that the mere act of stroking a cat for several minutes helps release "feel good" endorphins in the brain, producing the feeling of tranquility in the stroker. But petting alone is not the only stress reliever. Depression and sadness are heightened by loneliness or a sense of isolation. Pets offer constant companionship and unconditional love. For instance, when the kids have gone off to school or a spouse is lost, being home alone can be overwhelming. But if you have a pet to keep you company, loneliness is not all encompassing.

    Marty Becker, DVM, author of The Healing Power of Pets, states that "the breadth and depth of what dogs do to benefit humans’ happiness and longevity is pretty remarkable." Studies have shown that dog ownership can lower blood pressure, cholesterol and tryglyceride levels. Dr. Becker also says, "Petting a dog is like a spa treatment. In short time there is a massive release of positive neurochemicals like dopamine and seratonin. And the dog gets the same relief as well."

    Many nursing homes now allow therapy, as their residents enjoy petting puppies, kittens and service animals, some especially trained just for that purpose. In addition to being service companions, dogs are also contributing to medicine, from detecting cancer to predicting epileptic seizures.

    Cats also have medicinal effects as they love to snuggle with their owners and when humans are not feeling well, the warmth of their bodies (101.5) and their purring at 25 vibrations per second can many times lower blood pressure by their soothing presence.

    According to Dr. Sandra Barker, Director of the Center for Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University, "the bond between animals and humans is part of our evolution is very powerful and researchers have only recently begun to explore this wonderful relationship and what it’s health benefits might be."

    Pets seem to help humans survive heart attacks. Researchers looked at 421 people who had heart attacks and found dog owners were more likely to be alive one year later, regardless of heart attack severity. Other studies show pets provide comfort, especially to children. This points to the importance of pets as a source of comfort and empathy.

    There is extensive scientific data and evidence indicating that pets are natural born healers who not only improve the quality of our lives but also increase our longevity. Animal companions provide physical and emotional well being. The simple act of petting an animal friend has been proven to be of significant physical and psychological benefit.

    According to the American Human Society, scientists have studied the pets and health bond for quite some time. Not only does interaction with pets decrease stress and related cardiovascular illness, but caring for a pet has practical daily benefits. Daily walking a dog may offer socialization with other pet owners. Also the opportunity to nurture and serve as a caregiver to another living creature may bring a sense of fulfillment and may even provide a reason to get up in the morning.

    Though our animal companions we learn many invaluable lessons of life and death and the aging process. They serve as teachers, guides, helpers and healers. They accompany us on our life’s journey of triumph and defeats as well as our joys and sorrows. Maybe it is time for you to consider adopting one of life’s greatest sources of love and happiness…the old addage is true that all you need is (pet) love!

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