For those of us with pets, coming home to a wagging ball of fluff whose sole desire is to love us, can be a powerful way to de-stress at the end of a long day. It’s estimated over 71 million households in America have pets. That’s 62% of us. For most, they’re a part of the family. As such, they affect the quality of our lives everyday, improving our health and well being through their unconditional love and acceptance. Research studies have found that people with pets are healthier, stay home sick less often, make fewer visits to the doctor, get more exercise, have less pain and are less depressed. The better we understand this unique bond, the more we can use it to improve people’s lives.
If you are reading this post with a mobile phone or tablet, please turn your device horizontally to view the captions for the slideshow below.
Pets can be an amazing option for many of us, but it’s not a cure all. It is a serious commitment for the life of the animal. Dogs need to be walked and they all need to be fed, groomed, and taken to the vet. If you can’t handle those demands right now, ask to walk a friend’s dog a few days a week, or volunteer at an animal shelter. Anything that gets you out and keeps you physically active is good for your health. Make the most of your time together. Get outside and walk, play games, cuddle and spend as much time as possible with them as you can. Your pet, and your health, will be better for it.
Teaching your dog basic manner skills and providing her with enough mental enrichment and physical exercise will prevent her from developing anxiety and other stress related behaviors such as destructive chewing, inappropriate barking and aggressive display. Training can improve the life of your pet, strengthen your bond together, create a fun and enjoyable activity for you to share, and even save your dog from potentially dangerous situations. I recommend Sasha from Paw Prints– Sasha has been with me and my family for decades keeping our family and pets happy and safe.
Organizations that can help you adopt a pet:
A few nonprofit groups can make it easier for you to adopt and care for a pet. Contact your local community elder services center, local pet stores (Petsmart is where I adopted my pets) or try one of these organizations:
• PAWS Seniors for Seniors
PAWS will place you with a pet that matches your lifestyle, at a reduced adoption rate (425-787-2500, ext. 850).
• Pets for the Elderly Foundation
This foundation will pay a portion of your adoption fee if you’re 60 or over and you adopt a pet from one of its participating shelters around the country (480-625-4679).
• Seniors for Pets
If you’re having trouble affording a pet, this organization will help you pay for medical care (941-473-0778).