Let’s talk about the unexpected and surprising benefits of having pets in your life.
Did you know that there is a powerful bond between animals and humans?
One of the most beautiful and unifying aspects of humanity is seeing the extraordinary lengths some animal lovers are willing to go to for their companions.
Non-animal lovers may not understand this at all…yet.
So here’s the thing: they enjoy a deep, mutual bond and connection that is difficult to explain or define but is no less real or tangible.
Many people have learned the benefits of having pets. And a pet of any kind, be it a cat, dog, horse, lizard, or bird, that feels loved and safe will bring great joy to its owner.
While some pet owners go to extravagant lengths for their fur babies – throwing them elaborate weddings or birthday parties or dressing them up in great costumes – simply acknowledging their loyalty and love for you is a gift that will pay off for a lifetime.
Pets are a window to our souls.
One of the many benefits of having pets is that they show you who you are. They do this by reflecting, mirroring, and acting out aspects of their inner self. And if you pay attention to their messages, they can help you become a better person.
This is the phenomenon I call the human-animal mind-body connection and it’s an amazing thing that, once you understand it, will change your life.
They are not capable of holding grudges or tricks.
When you listen to them, what do they say about how you take care of yourself…and them?
They innately reflect your sense of health and well-being. They listen to your energy – mind, body, and emotions – and can send you messages about problems that are brewing long before others can see the signs.
And they can be a great comfort in times of stress, isolation, or loneliness.
Health benefits of pets
We’ve all heard clichés like “The dog is man’s best friend”.
But have you wondered why? I’ll tell you what I think…
Dogs are loyal to a fault.
Animals find joy in the simplest, smallest things.
They don’t need excuses or pretense, they are always just themselves.
They go to sleep unencumbered by daily worries and wake up each morning with a clean slate, ready to face the world with fresh eyes and a new mind.
Their drive, resilience, dedication, determination, and optimism are contagious.
Yet many animals also have an innate sense of when someone needs support. They don’t always take on the worry…they simply reach out to comfort someone who is suffering.
Not every dog, cat, or horse will be a therapy animal that is trained to receive care in a hospital, as a service animal, or as a companion in times of crisis…
But you should know that your pet is picking up signals from you at all times.
Your horse will sense the tension in you and try to make sense of it, then decide how to help you.
Your dog will follow you around the house when he senses negative energy, trying to figure out what’s wrong and how to help.
You may think he’s a pest, especially when you feel agitated. Stop and receive the gift of their love for who they are, and talk with them about what is bothering you. You’ll feel better, and once you know how to talk to animals, they’ll be able to tell you what’s on their mind, too.
Animals understand when things go wrong, but they don’t have the power to fix them… or do they?
Countless studies have shown that there is healing power in the fact that a cat purrs in your lap, a dog rests its head on your lap, and a horse stands still while you stroke its face.
Research has shown that the bond between people and their pets increases fitness, reduces stress, and brings joy to their owners. Among the many benefits of pet ownership are:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lowered cholesterol levels
- Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
- Decreased triglyceride levels
- Decreased feelings of loneliness
- Increased opportunities for socialization
( Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention )
Pets won’t let you retreat, isolate, or cocoon by yourself.
It’s very difficult to socialize in today’s world…and that can amplify depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation.
Your pet needs your care and attention in good times. He needs to play with you, walk with you, and learn from you. And in bad times, he still needs all of these things, but he can sense that things are not going well when you are suffering.
When your dog is obsessed with bringing you a toy or seems to be bugging you to go for a walk, listen to him.
Your cat may be circling your office chair, jumping on your computer, intending to distract you… but in reality, he’s probably telling you that it’s time to change your focus.
Often, they notice your breathing has become shallow, your circulation is getting weaker and your energy is waning… this worries them. It’s time to take a break!
Time spent caring for an animal releases serotonin and dopamine, two hormones that trigger a pleasure response.
Pets are very intuitive creatures. The more time they spend with you, the more they get to know you and adapt to your ups and downs.
The benefits of pets are not limited to heroic rescue dogs.
We all have images of German Shepherds finding lost children in the woods, highly trained Golden Retrievers who have learned to detect seizures in their owners, and therapy dogs who go into hospitals to comfort patients…
But pets don’t have to perform “heroic” acts to be a hero in your life, and they don’t all have to be dogs either.
Birds, bearded dragons, horses, and chickens all make a difference.
Believe it or not, watching your goldfish go in and out of their little castle for 10 minutes lowers your blood pressure and stress.
Having a pet.
- Forces you to focus on a vulnerable person outside of yourself, and make an effort to meet their needs, which helps you meet your own needs as well
- Gets you outside to exercise, because after all, enjoying nature and disconnecting is critically important to your health and well-being, as well as that of others
- Takes you away from the computer and allows you to play, relax, refresh and reboot to reconnect.
Whether you get an iguana, a beagle, a Siamese cat, or a parakeet, you’ll appreciate the benefits of having animals in your life.
Take the time to learn how they communicate with you… they have insights to share if you are willing to listen and learn.
Tell us about YOUR pet! Write in the comments below and let’s celebrate your love of animals and the difference they have made in your life.