Many of us live a stressful existence. As you run from place to place with a cell phone glued to your ear, it can be a challenge to just stop for a minute and look at the world around you. Fortunately, those of us with pets have a live-in example of how to be "in the moment." Dogs and cats don’t worry about deadlines and they don’t nag you (except maybe for dinner). You may have noticed that your average house cat sleeping in the sunlight is rarely stressed out. Cats can be endlessly amused simply by watching an ant crawl across the floor or by stomping and crumpling up a paper bag.
Many studies have shown that owning a pet is good for you. Although a pet isn’t a substitute for human companionship, people who have pets are less likely to become depressed. Having a pet forces you to think about something outside of yourself and your own little thoughts. Coming home to feed or let out the dog gives you a sense of purpose and responsibility. Someone is depending on you.
A recent study showed that owning a pet actually can have a beneficial affect on your blood pressure. Apparently those who had adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations then their pet-free counterparts. This study is one of many that indicates that owning a pet can keep us healthier and happier for longer.
When you have pets you are never alone. Even as I sit here typing away, four canines are quietly sleeping on the floor. It’s only a matter of time before one of them leaps up and does something really dopey or makes a disgusting sound. Who can remain completely serious in the midst of all that silliness? If laughter is the best medicine, pets can be a great prescription for the blues.
Unfortunately, when this human-animal bond is broken, the results often affect far more than the pets in the family. In homes where spousal or child abuse exists, animal abuse often happens first. In fact, many women who would otherwise seek shelter end up staying with an abuser because of threats to kill the family pet.
Fortunately, the link between animal abuse and family violence is becoming more well known and publicized, so that in some communities law enforcement and animal services are working more closely. Most humans struggle and stress over problems of their own creation. Pets can be a valuable window into a simpler, more peaceful existence. Adopting a pet is a way to add more love into your life and that’s certainly a good thing.