For thousands of years, animals and humans have played a significant role in humans lives. This has often been a symbiotic relationship where we have something to offer the animal and in return, the animal has something to offer us. Both practically but also for companionship too. There're many benefits to owning a pet both physical and emotional. There have been many studies which have concluded the following:
- Lower blood pressure.
- Lower Triglyceride levels.
- Lower cholesterol levels.
- Lower rates of depression.
- Higher survival rates after a heart attack have been found in pet owners.
- Pets offer companionship, thus reducing feelings of loneliness.
- Pets can offer the opportunity to meet other people either via online forums, pet shows or other hobbies related to your chosen pet.
- Dogs require exercise, which is also of benefit to dog owners. Interestingly, surveys have shown that cat owners are as active as dog owners.
- Pets require love and attention. Pet owners enjoy having somebody to care and look after. Pets give lonely owners a sense of purpose.
- With correct supervision from parents, pets can teach children about the responsibility of caring for a living creature.
- Children growing up in a home with dogs or cats have been shown to have lower rates of allergies to children from nonpet households.
- There is nothing sweeter than coming home from a stressful day at work and being able to unwind by stroking your pet. Stress is known to have a detrimental impact on the immune system.
- Elderly people who live alone are often isolated, pet ownership reduces feelings of isolation and loneliness. Pets can offer a sense of purpose and responsibility in the elderly. They also are more active than non-pet owners. Which provides an obvious health benefit to them.
- Pets can help reduce sadness in owners.
Below is a beautiful story which highlights just how important pets can be in a person's life.
After speaking to my Dad a few weeks ago on the phone, I knew I had to jump on a plane and fly down (he lives in country Victoria) to see him. He is so depressed, sad and lonely without Mum (passed away 11 months ago). To see my Dad cry, telling me in a quivery voice how empty his life is now broke my heart. Dad has shrivelled up on the inside, and it shows on the outside ..his hair has gone white, he has lost weight and looks old, frail and so sad. He is 83. Their 60th wedding anniversary would have been in a few days time.
As I drove away to come home, I watched through the rear view mirror my very sad and lonely Dad standing on the nature strip watching me, without waving, drive away. I could feel his pain and had to drive through buckets of tears for nearly an hour as it just broke my heart...
Dad asked to have a little dog as a companion! He wanted a Female Jack Russell, no objections to a JR cross (as long as it is short haired) from a pound. Not a puppy - an older girl would be ideal.
At the Animal Shelter here on the Gold Coast I found this gorgeous little 6-year-old girl - Emma. Her previous elderly owner was deceased and no family could take her. I picked her up and fell instantly in love with her - rang my Dad and he, of course, was so excited! I picked her up last Monday - and after a few days decided to fly down with her and deliver her in person to Dad staying with him again for a few days. To hear my Dads joyous laugh was just wonderful!
I had a good flight down with Emma, I felt so sad leaving her at the Freight Dept. when I was flying down, her little face looked so unsure.. she watched me walk out the door, I'm sure she was thinking "oh, are you leaving me too now"? She was 5 hours in her crate and boy was she excited when I picked her up in Melbourne. She slept all the way in the car to Dad's ( 2.5 hours drive).
The flight really knocked her around, as for the next day all she did was sleep, tho eating and drinking normally. The first night Dad put her bed beside his and as I slept in the next room, I could hear him talking soothingly to her during the night, so sweet to hear.
Of course, I had to buy her a nice snug jumper for chilly Victoria - she happily modelled it for me.
Dad and I went shopping and bought her a little kennel (Dad insisted Emma come with us, so pleased Dad loves her) and the pet barn gave us a sample pack of goodies. Inside was a tennis ball - well didn't Emma go crazy over that - she LOVES chasing it and brings it back to you - what a great discovery!. She is also had a kennel - as she hopped inside and curled up straight away. Dad is keeping the Kennel inside the house for a few weeks until she is settled enough. Emma often would hop off our laps, preferring to sleep in her kennel.
Emma had become very attached to me in such a short time, she spent almost a week with me 24/7 and started to bond with me, (she never let me out of her sight and followed me everywhere - including the toilet lol) so leaving her was hard. Dad took her for a walk and I quietly drove away. Dad told me Emma knew I was gone, she ran straight to my bedroom and looked everywhere for me. She has barely been eating, Dad cooked up some chicken for her and she ate that at least, but choosing to sleep all day.
Today Dad tells me Emma is very perky, so he took her for his usual morning walk to get the paper (he'd previously left her asleep) and she had a wonderful time sniffing the whole way. Dad tied her up at the shop, went in and bought the paper... was telling the shopkeeper all about his new dog - when Emma came shooting in through the shop door as if to say "here I am" LOL Oops, Dad hadn't tied her up properly - but, how great she knew to go to him! He lives in a very quiet small town (pop 3,000) so Emma has met lots of the locals already and she has stolen every one's heart!
Dad gave her a tiny bowl of porridge this morning (whilst he ate his) and she apparently gobbled it up happy as Larry. Hmmm, who thinks she will be spoilt?
Visitors came yesterday (to see the new dog, of course) and Emma ran to the door letting out little barks as they walked up the path. So a great little watch dog! She didn't do that whilst she was here with me - perhaps she knows Dad is more vulnerable and could do with some protecting! Dad's also got her a little mat and puts it in the sun in front of the window, and she apparently loves to sun herself there.
I'm so happy for my Dad and Emma.
Special thanks to Pam for this heart warming story.