Animals and humans have shared a bond since time immemorial. Sadly in today’s times, we hear of terrible inhuman acts of violence on our furry friends. Dogs being burnt and even buried alive, cats eyes’ being poked, elephants tied 24/7 in temples, cows being slaughtered and transported in the most unimaginable circumstances and what not. Despite the atrocities that humans commit on animals, they continue to suffer in silence while still being loving and showering humans with positivity.
Having a pet at home is a natural mood elevator as being around them, patting them or even watching fishes swim reduces stress due to our body’s response which causes serotonin to be released. Serotonin is a chemical which is associated with well-being. The stress hormone cortisol is also reduced in the presence of an animal.
Owning a pet is known to manage/ reduce blood pressure. In one study of 240 couples, pet owners had lower blood pressure and heart rates during rest than people who did not own a pet. Researchers have seen lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in people who own pets compared to those who don’t. This could also be due to lifestyle changes brought about as a result of owning a pet, like playing with them or taking them for long walks etc.
Animals are being increasingly used for various therapies including fighting depression. Petting an animal has a soothing effect and the love that one receives in return is unmatchable - unconditional and pure.
In a research study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, it was stated that children exposed early on to animals tend to develop stronger immune systems and lower a child’s likelihood of developing related allergies by 33 percent! It may sound strange but researchers have found that children with homes with cats are less likely to develop asthma as they get older though if their mothers had a cat allergy, the chances of an allergy increase manifold.
Research has shown the long-term benefits of owning a cat. A study was done which was spread over 20 years and it was found that people who never owned a cat were 40% more likely to die of a heart attack than those who had. Cats are known to have a more calming effect on humans than any other animal, some studies show. Another study stated that dog owners had a significantly better survival rate one year after a heart attack. Animals help keep our hearts strong and healthy.
Dog owners are known to have better fitness levels as they are more likely to be more physically active by taking their dogs out for walks on a daily basis. Research conducted by the National Institute of Health showed in a study of more than 2,000 adults that dog owners who take their dogs/ pups for walks are less likely to be obese than those who neither own a dog nor take them for walks. Total strangers come up to people walking their dogs and initiate a conversation making one socialize more.
Children with ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, who play with pets are likely be more confident and have better self-esteem, apart from releasing the excess nervous energy that they have. Even children with autism benefit from pets around them as animals have a calming effect on them.
Having a pet reduces feelings of loneliness and depression and improves the quality of life exponentially. Animals give us unconditional love; time that we reciprocate the same - a pet, stray or any kind.