by Doris Donnerman
(last updated February 17, 2009)
My parents never wanted us to have a dog. They always said that they didn't need to be cleaning up after anything else. Good point. So, we always played with our grandparents' dog. It sufficed, but there are definite perks to owning your dog, not the least of which is ecstatic children. There are actually proven health benefits to having a dog, so if you're on the fence about purchasing a dog, do keep these few tidbits in mind.
Let's use some good, solid logic here. Puppies are one of the cutest living things ever. How could you possibly stay in a nasty mood with an adorable, loving puppy around? I think I'd have problems maintaining my negativity with such an animal living with me! Studies have also shown that pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure. Perhaps it's because people tend to relax a bit more about loving pets, but regardless of the precise reasons, your stress and blood pressure can decrease significantly.
Something else about pets—more specifically dogs—is that they encourage you to get out there and exercise. We all know that exercise is good for your heart and overall health, but sometimes it's difficult to actually get yourself out there. By having a dog, you make it so you need to go outside to walk it, and why not up your walk to a jog for both you and your dog? Also, when you walk your dog, you improve your social opportunities. Not only are you getting outside and providing social exposure that way, but a dog or pet can increase your approachability and make it so people feel more comfortable coming over and talking to you.
Another great thing about pets is that they provide you with a companion, one that will love you unconditionally. Sometimes it's hard to be lonely and having a loving pet around can help you with the loneliness problem. Also, after a hard day at school or work, you may not want to have too many human interactions because sometimes those can be wearing and stressful in and of themselves; pet relationships are relatively stress free. They don't need anything from you but the obvious care and love. I'm not saying you should forsake people relationships, but having a pet relationship in your mix can help you out.
Pets, while they may be another responsibility, really are beneficial for you. You will notice a change in your moods, in your health, and in your stress level. Pets are great and if you're debating about whether or not to get one, take the leap and do it!
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