Most of us know that pets make great companions, but did you know they also help us heal? Studies have shown that after undergoing operations or cancer treatments, those who come home to a pet recover much more quickly than those patients without pets. For a few basic needs like food, stimulation, shelter, and of course affection, pets repay our care with abundant unconditional love and increase our well-being. In caring for our four-legged companions (or feathered friends) we feel less isolated, and it helps provide us with a sense of purpose. When children are raised in an environment where animals are treated fairly and kindly, it helps teach them about gentleness, empathy, responsibility and loyalty, which helps with their healthy development.
And then there’s the laughter! Anyone who has loved an animal discovers their amazing personalities and the many opportunities for smiles and laughter. The four pets I am lucky enough to share a home with are constantly providing my family and me with amusement and warming our hearts.
Adopting an older pet, as I have done with both cats and dogs, helps give these deserving animals a chance at a home when most potential adopters are cooing over the kittens and puppies. Older pets offer many benefits. They are past the shoe-chewing and curtain-climbing antics that puppies and kittens are prone to. Plus they are more sedate, making them an excellent choice for providing companionship for a senior.
And they really care about us, bless their hearts! My oldest cat is drawn to me when I am under the weather or suffering a bout of the blues. And my ‘Nikki’ dog definitely helps by getting me out of the house on a regular basis, even when I’d rather not. But she needs those walks and I comply. Like the old adage says: A tired dog is a good dog. And our dogs seem to know something about us as well: A walked human is a happy human.
God Bless all our feathered and four-legged family members. And if you do not have one yet, I encourage you to consider it. There are countless rescue agencies out there for every kind of pet, including equines if you have the space, with lovely animals waiting for that special human out there to find them. Let it be you.