Pet a puppy, cuddle a cat

 The positive impact pets may have on our mental and physical health has been shown time and time again. Here are just a few of the many ways a pet can help us be healthier and happier:  Stress reduction: being in the presence of animals is soothing. Relax watching fish in an aquarium or puppies sleeping together.

Physical contact: studies have shown that heart rate and blood pressure decrease when people touch an animal. Touch is a very important sense for humans and animals alike… “There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face”—Ben Williams

Reduce loneliness and depression: companion animals can elevate mood and be very comforting during times of crisis or illness.

Responsibility: being able to care for a pet gives us a feeling of fulfillment, as well as ensures a daily routine of feeding, walking, grooming, etc…it gives us something to look forward to every day.

Physical activity: walking the dog and playing with the cat keeps both pets and owners physically active. “If your dog is getting fat, you are not getting enough exercise”--unknown author

Social interactions: whether walking your dog in the park or visiting in a long term care home, people socialize more when an animal is nearby (there has been a lot of success with pet visitation in senior and care facilities).

Owning a pet is a big responsibility: we must have the commitment and ability to care for the pet and treat it well. If you can’t own a pet, think about volunteering at a local animal shelter!