Pets: the best companions

Pets: the best companions
Highlights

Pets: The Best Companions. Charmee is a gentle scone-colored 30-pound poodle and she’s clearly convinced that there is no human problem that she can’t lick.

Charmee is a gentle scone-colored 30-pound poodle and she’s clearly convinced that there is no human problem that she can’t lick.

“She draws the whole family together,” said Sneha Singh. “Even when we hate each other, we all agree that we love the dog.”

Her husband, Daljeet Singh, said, “We didn’t choose her. She chose us.”

Their 12-year-old daughter, Parineeti, said, “When I go to camp, I miss the dog a lot more than I miss my parents.” And their 14-year-old son, Aaron, said, “Life was so boring before we got Charmee.”

Statistics say that there has been an increase in the number of Indian families opting to have pets. Keeping pets at home has several benefits. Whether you believe it or not, pets are a great way to improve your mood and temperament. Research has shown that people have lesser chances of going into depression if they keep pets as compared to those who don't keep pets. Health experts express that pet owners have less blood pressure and cardiac problems.

Several studies have revealed that people who tend to spend their time with pets are more likely to live longer than people who don't. Touch and movement are two healthy ways to quickly manage stress. This could involve petting a cat, taking a dog for a walk or riding a horse.

According to the Harold Herzog, a professor of psychology at Western Carolina University, “People are passionate about their companion animals. 70 per cent of pet owners say they sometimes sleep with their pets; 65 per cent buy Christmas gifts for their pets; 23 per cent cook special meals for their pets; and 40 per cent of married women with pets say they get more emotional support from their pets than from their husbands. People may even be willing to die for their pets.”

Children love their pets - and for good reason. Creatures large and small teach, delight and offer a special kind of companionship. Everyone knows that kids love animals. A quick glance at your child's bedroom will remind you just how densely imaginary critters populate storybooks, movies, music, toys, decor and clothes of childhood.

As you age you’ll lose things that previously took up your time and gave your life purpose. You may retire from your career or your children may move far away. Caring for a pet can bring pleasure and help boost your morale and optimism.

Taking care of an animal can also provide a sense of self-worth. Choosing to adopt an animal from a shelter, especially an older dog or cat, can add to the sense of fulfillment, knowing that you’ve provided a home to a pet that may otherwise have been euthanised.

Dr Horowitz, the author of the best-selling book about dog cognition, ‘Inside of a Dog’, belongs to a community of researchers paying close attention to the nature of the human-animal bond in all its fetching dissonance, a pursuit that was recently accorded the chimeric title of anthrozoology. Scientists see in our love for other animals and our unslakeable curiosity about animal lives, sensations, feelings and drives, keys to the most essential aspects of humanity.

As any pet owner knows, pets don't have the same type of hang-ups or grudges that humans have. They're perfectly willing to walk with you through life, comfort you in your troubles and cheer you on when life is grand.

For those who love animals, it’s virtually impossible to stay in a bad mood when a pair of loving puppy eyes meets yours, or when a super-soft cat rubs up against your hand. Pets can be there for you in ways that people can’t.

They can offer love and companionship, and can also enjoy comfortable silences, keep secrets and are excellent snugglers. And they could be the best antidote to loneliness.

All these benefits with pets can reduce the amount of stress people experience in response to feelings of social isolation and lack of social support from people.

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