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DOGS AND GOOD HEALTH GO HAND-IN-HAND

Organizations such as New Hope and the SPCA do great work when it comes to the rescue of animals. These compassionate and dedicated rescuers and caretakers of hurt and abused animals do so much to ensure their safety and wellbeing.  

The dogs in our family over the years were “rescue dogs”.  We enjoyed and loved them and never regretted saving them. Now research shows that not only do pets bring joy, owing a pet is actually good for your health!

Researchers at several universities, including the University of London, the State University of New York and Henry Ford Hospital have found there are several perks to owning a pet. Besides the obvious reason of the benefits of the love between a pet and its owner, there are several health reasons which make owning a pet good for you and your children!

Researchers have found that children with dogs take 360 more steps a day and exercise more each day. They believe owning a dog could help in the battle against to childhood obesity. Other research indicates that cuddling with a furry friend helps children relax. Petting animals actually slows down the heart rate and makes you feel calmer. Adult pet owners had lower blood pressure when responding to stress than adults who do not own pets. Studies have also shown that taking care of their pets teaches kids empathy. Pets help children and adults cope with stress such as moving or dealing with a divorce. Therapy for traumatized Bosnian children included pet therapy. It works because pets provide companionship and unconditional love. As well, they encourage play and laughter. This helps adults dealing with depression.  Pets can make them laugh and play when nothing else works. 

The biggest surprise to me was finding out that children living with a pet are 50 percent less likely to develop allergies! Studies done at Henry Ford Hospital and the Medical College of George indicates that this may be due to compounds called endotoxins found in the mouths of cats and dogs. Kids are exposed to them through petting and playing with their animals. 

These are all benefits of owning a pet, but I think the best reason is to bask in the love of our furry friends.  If there are other health benefits to owning a pet, that is a bonus.

So, go ahead and rescue a pet.  You will be loved unconditionally and you may even improve your health because of it.

 

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