Pets really are man’s best friend. They unceasingly and unconditionally love the hands that feed them. And not only are pets a constant source of fun and entertainment, but research has shown that owning a pet can also have positive influences on our physical, mental, emotional, and psychological health. So next time you fall asleep with your new kitten, or sing along with the songs your bird whistles, or take the old family dog out on a walk, think about what effects you feel your pet is having on you. Just as much love and attention as you give them, they give that compassion and love right back tenfold.
Studies have shown that children who grow up in a household with pets develop a keener sense of empathy and compassion than those that don’t. This could be because young children view pets as their peers, and as they grow up alongside one another, the feelings they have for the pet grow deeper and deeper. And when something happens to the pet, whether it gets sick, runs away, or breaks a bone, the child feels powerful feelings of worry and hope that the pet will be okay. This is also applicable to adults as well. When we become attached to an animal, that connection brings out feelings of compassion and empathy that might have been locked up for years. For whatever reason, loving an animal that loves you teaches you how to love your fellow human beings all the more.
Owning a pet also hones our nurturing skills, especially when you own a younger animal that depends upon you more for the basic essentials. Caring for an animal can be a seemingly easy task, but it’s one that is there every day and never goes away. Because pets need constant love and attention, it really brings out the most nurturing characteristics of even the least paternal or maternal person. Additionally, because they require a certain amount of attention, it forces even selfish people to look outside of themselves and cater to someone else’s needs other than their own. The love they give can even help those of us who are insecure and withdrawn to learn to love ourselves and feel needed and wanted.
Pets like dogs and cats have a lot of extra energy and require enough attention and playtime to help them release that energy. The more physical you are while playing with your pet, the better for you and the animal. Not only does the pet get a great workout and the opportunity to release that built up energy, but you get an easy and fun way to work out and stay trim. The more you play with your pet, the more you solidify the relationship you have with it, and the better shape both you and your pet will be in. Consequently, this helps both you and your pet live much longer, happier, and healthier lives.
Because they’re incredibly fun to own and raise, (albeit, there are some moments of frustration – especially during the potty training stage) it’s common for most pet owners to have significantly reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Pets are also helpful in reducing stress levels and decreasing levels of anxiety while helping ease feelings of loneliness and increasing psychological well being. As long as you keep them happy and healthy, your pet will do the same for you.
Carol Marin is a writer for Nursing Scholarships where you can find jobs, scholarships, and nursing career descriptions.