Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Benefits of Pets - More Than Companionship

Yes, we love our pets; in fact we are crazy about them!

They are our best friends, surrogate children and family members; they provide us with comfort, unconditional love, affection, companionship and endless entertainment.

Pets can also help us live longer, happier, healthier and more enriched lives!

People with pets are less likely to suffer from depression and loneliness, have lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, and increased opportunities for exercise, activities and socialization.

For the elderly, pets can prevent social isolation and act as a support system when family and friends are not nearby.  Caring for a pet gives a sense of purpose; a reason to get up in the morning, and can help combat depression, one of the most common problems the elderly face today.

Through my work with Sam's Hope, I am often in contact with seniors who have pets.  So many are alone in the world; spouses and friends have passed on, families live out of town, they are homebound and isolated.  Without pause, they will tell you that what keeps them going is their beloved pet.  Just mention their pet, and they light up and share stories of their beloved Lily, Samantha and Mr. Soxx.  Heartwarming, and most of all rewarding to help these wonderful and caring individuals provide for the needs of their pets.

"A pet is a medication without side effects that has so many benefits. I can’t always explain it myself, but for years now I’ve seen how instances of having a pet is like an effective drug. It really does help people." - Dr. Edward Creagan - Oncologist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN