Monday, September 17, 2012

Pets, Stress and You

Want to find yourself slightly more stress-free? Get a pet.

Hairballs? Slobbery kisses? Paper training? I can hear a collective sigh that says "I think that sounds stress FULL, not stress-free."

Not so fast. Studies show that owning a pet helps you live longer. Think about it: who else gives you unconditional love day in and day out? Okay, the dog does. Cats give unconditional love when they WANT to. (But they still love you even if they appear to be ignoring you, honest.)

Taking 10 minutes at the end of the work day to throw a ball with your canine or entice your kitty to play a game of laser light helps to relieve the accumulated stress of phone calls, deadlines, and annoying colleagues substantially. Statistics show that pet owners can effectively lower high blood pressure simply by having a four legged (or two as the case may be) companion.

Think of the exercise involved in walking the dog or just playing with one. It's great for him and for you. A definite win-win!

And then, at day's end; everyone winds down with a wonderful petting session. The rhythmic stroking of an animal's fur soothes not only the beast but the master as well.

Beyond the stress relief and health benefits; a pet is a wonderful people magnet. For some reason, a person is far more likely to stop and talk to you during a walk if you have a dog by your side than not. This is a huge benefit, especially to those who live alone or don't get to public places where other humans abound. In fact, therapy pets are being used more and more in nursing homes and other medical facilities for the social benefits to short and long term residents.

Pets are also fantastic listeners. Especially dogs (your cat may get bored and walk away). They don't offer advice, chastise you for saying or doing something wrong, or get mad at you. They simply listen in their own dog-like way. It can be very cathartic to talk to a pet and your pet will be getting your undivided attention; which is what he loves.

On top of it all; your pet is always there for you. She watches for you to come home, loves to have you feed, pet, play with her. You're not her master. You're her buddy and her world. It doesn't get a whole lot better than that.