At Colorado DanceSport, the place where I learn ballroom dancing each week, the owners share their dogs with everyone who comes in. Maceo steals my heart with his obvious joy to see me. Maddy has crooked teeth that make me giggle (shared experience, except I had braces to straighten me out). The excitement of these dogs who happily welcome us probably have something to do with the treats they’ll find in my dance bag, but still, there is a boost of instant happiness every time I go to put on my dancing shoes. I wonder why more businesses don’t have furry friends.
Right now, Prophet is laying on the floor while I type my blog post, his tummy grumbling from some poorly digested poopsicle, no doubt.
Last night, I didn’t feel well, and Nalla seemed to sense it. She cuddled up, started licking my hand and settled in to purring me to sleep.
And right now, each of these thoughts is putting a smile on my face.
You can say all you want about the germs, the smells, the cost, and the responsibility of pet care giving, but I believe that pets help you live a better life, if not a longer one. So I did a little internet research, mixed it with my own observations and came up with some great reasons pets are important.
Top 5 list of the Importance of Pets:
- Pets encourage you to exercise — If you know me, you know that I think of exercise as some disgusting way to turn sweaty and waste your time. But walking? Who can resist that? Especially when your best friend needs it so much. Turns out, walking is considered one of the best low-impact exercises a person can do. Who knew?
- Pets are real mood boosters — Just having a cat or dog near you, with their silly sounds and their unconditional love creates a welcome happiness inside (at least until you find the latest accident on your white carpeting). This increase in happiness helps reduce stress and in some cases even high blood pressure.
- Pets encourage social interaction — People who might otherwise pass you by as you walk your dog, easily stop to comment on your furry friend. These small conversations help make our days brighter and us more a part of where we are. One time, my family and I were walking in Washington D.C. and we saw a German shepherd. I happened to have dog treats in my pocket, so a quick word with the caregiver, and I was making a new friend while my family was meeting a nice person to boot. Our trip was more comfortable for the engagement. Apparently socially active people tend to live longer, healthier lives with fewer incidents of dementia.
- Pets make you laugh — Okay, so my dog eats poo. My cat will only play with one, totally unrecognizable toy. They chew things they’re not supposed to, dig in the trash, or even sneak up on furniture that is a no-no. But whether they feel it or not, those guilty looks that turn into instant and boundless joy when they find out they’re not in trouble have my special guy and me laughing and telling each other pet anecdotes that brighten our days regularly. And, laughter jump starts chemicals in the brain that help keep you healthy.
- Pets are amazing heroes— Beyond the stories of pets who save families from such disasters as fires in the house or intruders, I came across a site that lists seven surprising ways dogs are helping in monitoring people’s health, including detecting cancer, low-blood sugar in diabetics, seizures in epileptics, steering people away from foods they’re allergic to and more. It seems, the more we care for pets, the more they care for us.
Well, it’s 7:30 already. I need to get to my dog and my walk. Nalla has had her breakfast and is busy filling our home with the white noise of her snoring.
What about you? What does your pet do to make you smile and keep you healthy?