Adding a Furry Friend to Your Family Brings Many Benefits
● By LeeAnn Dickson
Shari (human) with Jax-Photo courtesy of Jess Gibson Photography
The paw print shaped bumper sticker asks: “Who rescued who?” Although the grammar is incorrect, the sentiment is spot on. Who benefits from the partnership more: the human or the pet?
Judith Esquivel, a licensed marriage and family therapist practicing in Roseville, says “Pets of any size, from fish to horses, are instrumental in helping people get better from physical or emotional issues.” She says there are multiple scientific studies that prove pets enrich our lives in many ways. “Animals are very intuitive to our needs and feelings,” Esquivel says. “They care about you in a way a fellow human might not.”
Dr. Brad Cahoon, owner and veterinarian of the Veterinary Healing Centers of Folsom and El Dorado Hills, agrees. “My relationship with animals as a veterinarian has enabled me to value them in a unique way,” Cahoon explains. “They don’t judge you and are always loyal friends and companions.” In his integrative practice, which brings Western and Eastern medicines together, he sees a lot of good in relationships between pets and their owners. “Entering into a relationship with a pet creates an opportunity to care and bond with them...This responsibility and position as a caretaker gives the pet owner a purpose. In return, the animal’s love and devotion can help these individuals heal from all types of physical and emotional traumas.”
Here are six additional health benefits of cohabitating with a furry friend.
1 / Allergy and Asthma Assistance
It sounds counter intuitive, however, recent studies show infants exposed to animals are less likely to develop allergies or asthma in adulthood.
2 / Socialization Success
Having a pet can increase opportunities for social interactions. A dog is a natural conversation starter and can lead to friendships…and beyond.
3 / Exercise Incentive
Pets need attention and care. Having a canine means a daily walk. Whether it’s around the block or a long run, both you and your pooch will reap all of the health benefits.
4 / Peaceful Petting
The act of stroking the fur of an animal is proven to bring about all sorts of calming effects, including reducing blood pressure and heart rate.
5 / Physical Prowess
Just having that friendly, all-loving pet around can help you lower cholesterol levels and ease pain. No matter what happens—from job loss to financial problems—your furry friend will still be happy to see and stand by you. As James Taylor sings in his hit “You’ve Got a Friend”—You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running to see you again. In other words, your best buddy will be there if you’re down.
6 / Disease Detector
Science has proven that certain dogs have the ability to detect some cancers. Also, therapy dogs can be used to tell diabetic owners when their blood sugar is dangerously low.