Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Health Benefits of Having a Pet

My friend, and your fellow blog-reader, Rachel lost her beloved cat Pretzels yesterday. While I can't make the loss of a loved one any better, I thought I would do this blog post in honor of Pretzels; a blog post about the many benefits of having a pet and the way in which those pets enrich our lives.
R.I.P. Pretzels

Honestly, I think there is something wrong with a person if they don't like animals. It's weird! I mean...I understand if you hate sharks because you were attacked by Jabberjaw and are now scarred for life (heh literally), but what's wrong with an adorable kitten? Nothing! That's what!

I always smile when I see a homeless person with a pet. Why? Because they have so little and yet they're willing to sacrifice their time, limited resources, and convenience to help an animal. Unfortunately though, many people aren't willing to make the necessary sacrifices in order to have a pet, for whatever reason. Well, that's there loss because not only is it just plain awesome to have a pet, but they also do so much for us:
Studies have shown that having a pet...
  1. ...decreases your blood pressure
  2. ...decreases your triglyceride levels
  3. ...decreases your risk for heart attack and stroke
  4. ...decreases your cholesterol levels
  5. ...decreases feelings of loneliness
  6. ...increases your opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
  7. ...increases your opportunities for socialization (and no they don't mean socialization with your dog Rambo)
  8. ...increase empathy in children
  9. ...decrease hyperactivity and increase attention in children
I have AD/HD (actual AD/HD...not just "hey doc, I can't pay attention! Can I have Adderall now?) and I know that having pets growing up helped me so much! When I was a kid and my brain just quit working in the evening when I was trying to do my homework, my cats would help me. I would literally ask them a math question like: "What's 932 divided by 49?" and I'd wait a second and then say "oh duh! 19.02040816326536! Thanks Choop!" Weird but effective. Granted, I knew that it was actually me doing the math but for whatever reason it helped. And then there was KJ the dog, who was my best, and only, friend for years, until his death a few years fact, he made such a difference in my life, I wrote an essay about him that made both my dad and my English teacher cry...(I'm contemplating posting it...let me know what y'all think--to post or not to post?)

Obviously pets make such a difference in the lives of their owners, which is why it's truly a tragedy whenever a pet goes up to Kitty or Doggy Heaven. There is a saying that: "Pets leave footprints on our hearts," and I couldn't agree more with this. When you've had a pet, especially since childhood, they help to make you who you are, and become forever intertwined in their owner's life.

So remember Rachel, even though Pretzels is gone, he changed your life for the better and will always remain a part of you, both in your heart and in your memories.

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  1. I've heard that in a study that was done, older people who had pets lived longer than those who didn't have pets. Isn't that crazy? Animals are just the best! =)

  2. Aw sorry about your friend's pet! I just wish I had one since I stay in this apt by myself! It would be like I have a friend to talk to lol.

  3. @Chunky: I heard that...not sure why I didn't include that in the post! But yes, animals are the best =)

    @Tiffanie: I feel so bad for her. When I found out I literally cried because I know how much that kitty meant to her.
    You should definitely consider getting a pet! They're so worth it!

  4. thank you jennie. but i'm starting to feel as if i would have rather never had him in the first place than having him and having to have loved and lost. i feel like i'll never feel happy again. my heart is broken.
    but thank you for the well wishes.

  5. Aww. I'm so sorry Rachel. I know that I felt that way when my dog KJ was so hard. I can't say that you'll change your mind because I don't know that you will. I just hope that you can remember the good times and the ways in which he made your life better.

  6. RIP Pretzels.I totally agree with you. Pets become more like siblings than animals living in your house. They share their emotions and needs and talk back. I once heard a joke "if you put your dog and husband in the trunk of your car for an hour, when you open it your dog will be there so happy to see you full of smiles and kisses, while your husband yells and is mad at you for days". I also volunteer at a retirement home and we bring pets to cheer up the elderly. It is an amazing feeling when you see how they light up when the pets enter the room.

  7. @Karyn: love the joke about the dog and the husband; but it's not much of a joke since it's soooo true!!!
    I love seeing the elderly and the sick when they get to see an grandparents both had dementia and were confused most of the time but their faces you used to light up when they saw my family's dog!

  8. hi! found yr forum post on 20sb- love your blog, cute and fresh and I think we have some similar blog thoughts (like just random everyday things in our lives :). Yours is somewhat more successful but bloggers like you inspire me to keep trying!
    keep up the writing

  9. Thanks for reading Alana! I'm glad you like it and that I inspire you to keep going! It took quite a bit of effort to get the followers I have but I'm so grateful for each and every one of my readers.
    I'll take a look at your blog!!

    Keep reading!

  10. Sweet post. I would love to see the essay. I love a good tearful piece. ;-)

    Animals are amazing. Just... amazing. That's all I've got. :-D

  11. Maybe I'll post it!
    Thanks for reading and commenting

  12. Found you on 20sb!
    I love pets, and have grown up having them but my boyfriend is a little paranoid about pets so I don't have one right now. The only downfall is that when we are both working full time it is not fair that the pet such as a dog would have to be alone all that time.