The Importance of Animals in Our Lives

Owning a pet like a dog or cat has many health benefits for us humans. There are many benefits for all of us that pets can help us with. Not only health benefits but also being a service dog. Learn about the health benefits of owning a pet.

Animals have always been an intricate part of my life. Where once I did not have human friends to play with I was fortunate enough to have my animals.

While I was young we had dogs and now for the last several decades, we have had both cats and dogs. Addressing people who are not animal lovers, I would say it is very difficult to explain what joy an animal can bring to one's life.

For a lonely little girl, they are the friends she needs so urgently. For the elderly or shut-ins, an animal may be their last remaining friend on earth.

Animals provide joy, companionship, and laughter to our lives. When Loren (Caddo) came home from the army, he was greeted by his soon-to-become lifelong companion, Buck, a beautiful black lab. Buck assisted him in hunting and trapping and guarded the family farm while providing hours of sheer pleasure.

Border Collie / Pixabay

Seeing-eye dogs and other trained animals for handicapped individuals perform services by assisting their masters in their daily activities, from carrying large objects to directing a blind person through traffic.

Animals save our lives in many ways. For example, they guard our properties and perform heroic feats. Many still remember the canines that assisted and/or lost their lives during the 9/11 attack. Similarly, the police dog is considered a genuine officer and is given the same respect as any human officer in the force. This dog in turn, will give his/her life in the line of duty.

Furthermore, animals give their lives for the advancement of science. Lab rats are poked, prodded, injected with chemical substances and operated upon, all so that we may find new cures for the many diseases that threaten our quality of life. There are good arguments to support this line of research, especially if it means an animal's sacrifice saves the life of a human being. There are also good arguments to support the argument that much of the research done on animals is without justification. For example, rabbits were once sprayed in the eyes with perfume merely for the testing of cosmetic products.

The result of this kind of experimentation often led to the animal's blindness. Avon, once a company that adhered to these practices, has long since abandoned this inhumane form of research.

Research is now showing that animals enhance the lives of others. The sick and the elderly look forward to spending time with animals. People volunteer their dogs to go into nursing homes to visit with the elderly. Just petting an animal can have a calming effect upon the sick and the elderly.

Whether animals are house pets, working animals, therapeutic dogs, or used for experimentation they are very important to us and we need them as much as they need us.

Service dog / Pixabay

More Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

More and more research has found that just by stroking a cat or dog can lower a person’s blood pressure. This happens because by stroking or petting a cat or dog releases a relaxation hormone and cuts down on humans stress hormone.

By lowering a stress hormone and reducing high blood pressure, petting a cat or dog, can actually lower the risk for having a stroke.

More ways a pet can help include:

  • Service dogs: As mentioned above, dogs can help in many ways. There are dogs trained to help with the deaf, the blind and those that have problems walking. In addition, dogs can be trained to be companions for senior citizens.
  • Healthier heart: Dog owners are more likely to walk or jog with their dogs. Walking is a great exercise for everyone to get into shape, lose calories and keep from getting overweight.
  • Soothe stress: Petting your dog or car relieves stress and lowers blood pressure according to a study at Purdue University.
  • Social magnets: Just walking your dog can attract others to just say hi. Dog owners seem to be attracted to each other.
  • A better mood: Studies have shown that those that own pets, especially dogs, have a better mood and are less likely to go to the doctor for minor ailments.
  • Watchdog: Owning a bigger dog can be of great comfort. When that strange person knocks on the door and hears a dog barking, they are most likely to walk away, quickly.
  • Less Allergies: Studies have found that children in homes with dogs or cats were 70% less likely to develop allergies than children in homes without a pet.

Owning a pet can also teach children and teens responsibilities, like how to treat a pet properly and watch for them by walking them with a leash and taking care of the pet.

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