Animal companionship strengthens health benefits

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Animals not only provide companionship but also are showing health benefits for their owners.

Photo credit: Animals not only provide companionship but also are showing health benefits for their owners.

Having a relationship with an animal is an experience like no other. More than just an affectionate companion, a furry friend is beneficial to many aspects of a pet owner’s life.

Studies show that animals can have advantageous effects on owners’ health.

Animals, including dogs, cats and pigs, are trained to assist the medically and physically impaired. Therapy dogs are utilized in nursing homes, hospitals and schools because of their compassionate and affectionate natures.

According to the Huffington Post, “people who have one or more pets in their homes lead happier lives, are considerably healthier, live longer and weigh less than those who don’t. Pet owners heal better after surgery and have reduced factors for cardiovascular disease.”

Having a pet in one’s life can also lead to greater overall happiness.

Studies show that petting or stroking a dog releases positive endorphins in the human brain as well as the dog’s and makes both parties feel pleasantly relaxed.

Because of this effect, some colleges have “puppy rooms,” rooms which contain several puppies for college students to pet during mid-term exams when stress levels are high.

High school students who have many demands on their time can also relieve some of the pressure by playing with their animals.

Sophomore Angelyne Loiselle, who has two Boston terriers, said, “My pets have definitely made me a happier person because they constantly make me laugh and bring me unexpected joy. They also give me something to look forward to every day after school and sports.”

Moreover, the benefits of having an animal playmate are not just limited to the traditional dogs and cats.
Sophomore Pakalana Kam, owner of a pot bellied dwarf mix piglet, said, “I enjoy playing with my pig and bringing him everywhere with me and my family. Having a pig is so unique and different that there is always an element of excitement with him. Now I have someone to play with when I get bored, and he’s like a best friend.”