The Value of Four-Legged Friends
When it comes to friends, the kinds with four legs are hard to beat. Many people reap the benefits of having a companion animal but may not be aware of the science behind why a pet keeps you perky.
Multiple studies have concluded that having a dog specifically can lead to improved heart health for more reason than one. The contributing factors are the calming effect of a pet, including the power of touch, and the amount of exercise dog owners get in caring for their furry friends.
No matter the species, pets act as the quintessential “wingman,” increasing social interactions with other humans! Animals can act as a shared interest, giving people a reason to begin a conversation. For example, many people feel far more confident approaching a pet and asking their name before introducing themselves to the pet’s owner.
Someone who knows the power of a pet’s popularity is Linda Rhea. Her sweet dog, Bailey is a five-year-old Corgi and basically has her own fan club here at Melrose Meadows. They’ve lived at Melrose for just under a year, but they’ve made a lot of friends and have more examples of how a dog can brighten up someone’s day than any of us can shake a stick at. Linda takes Bailey outside for walks and potty breaks several times a day, and Bailey absolutely has to stop and greet each person she meets, plopping down on the carpet or pavement and waiting expectantly for them to pet her soft, tawny fur. She even “talks” to her friends, giving happy whines of enjoyment whenever she meets one in the hallway or on the sidewalk. And the feeling is mutual. You see, Bailey isn’t only healthy for Linda. Bailey makes everyone else feel better too.
Most domestic pets need daily care, and this responsibility gives many people routine and purpose throughout the day. Pets are a commitment and getting one should be a decision that’s not taken lightly as the animal’s welfare is paramount.
If you are interested in spending time with animals but not ready for one of your own, many rescue organizations are always taking applications for new volunteers. Volunteer duties can include walking dogs awaiting adoption, spending time with shelter cats, cleaning enclosures, feeding/watering, brushing/grooming, taking photographs of new animals for their online profiles, sorting donations, and other administrative tasks.
Looking for something a little less intense? Just ask a friend with a pet if you can help take care of them the next time they have a vacation or appointment. They will likely appreciate your offer and find an opportunity for you to spend time with their little love.
For more information about rescue organizations in your area, stories about rescued pets, donation opportunities and more, visit the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at https://www.aspca.org/