Pets and Health
Pet Assisted Therapy is getting pets and people together to provide comfort, emotional, social and physical functioning. Several fields of study and research about pets and health have led to the belief that people benefit from reaction with pets and animals in many ways.
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People who have heart attacks live longer if they have pets than those who do not have pets. Having a pet seems to lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and stress levels. Taking animals to visit people group homes, hospitals, and health care facilities can relieve loneliness boredom. Animal Assisted Therapy used with depressed patients decreased the depression Other studies show that relating to and petting animals helps autistic children, ADHD children, Alzheimer patients, and people with bipolar disorder symptoms.
I have have had many pets in my life, including one dog, one bird, and several cats, so I know that owning a pet can have many benefits, such as always having something to talk to, never having to be alone, and having a companion to hide in the closet with you when the wind seems to be trying to tear down your house.
I also know the downside of having a pet, such as paying for a house and pet sitter when you go on vacation, Vet medical care that can cost as much as your own medical bills, and the grief when your companion passes on. I don't know if my pets have benefited my health in any way, but I've never regretted having pets throughout my life.
Pet Therapy Resources:
Visiting Pet Program
Pacific Animal Therapy Society
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