As pets, dogs and cats reign supreme. Their popularity and appeal are universal—crossing all age groups worldwide. Chances are, a pet has played a big role in your own life–whether it’s a family dog you grew up with or a neighborhood cat that never failed to pay you regular visits.
Of course, there’s little surprise in all this. After all, humankind’s attachment to pets goes back to time immemorial.
Here at Southgate, visitors will likely come across a pet or two under the loving care of a resident. That’s because we recognize the tremendous good they can do for those around them. This blog discusses some of the benefits inherent with pet ownership.
Positive effects on health. It has been proven time and again that pets can help keep us healthier. For example, interacting with animals can reduce blood pressure and anxiety—and even lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels when associated with walking or other related activities.
Companionship. Having a regular, reassuring presence in your life has a significant calming effect. Knowing that you’re never alone can truly work wonders, both in mental and physical respects. Pets may not be able to respond to you verbally (with the occasional exception of a parrot!), but the beneficial impact of their interactive behavior on you is immeasurable.
Unconditional affection. There’s always a lively debate raging about the “personalities” of dogs and cats; it’s the classic “I’m-a-dog-person” versus “I’m-a-cat-person” discussion (perhaps better characterized as “disagreement”). Regardless of your stance, pets are constant givers of love and affection—no matter what kind of a day they’ve had! The effects on a person’s mindset can be nothing short of miraculous.
The socialization aspect. It’s always healthy to stay involved with the world around you. The socialization and camaraderie that transpire and evolve through communal activities such as card-playing, woodworking and art classes keep you alert and motivated. Similarly, having a pet serves as a healthy attachment outside yourself.
The pleasure principle. Studies have demonstrated that playing with pets can elevate your levels of serotonin and dopamine—two nerve transmitters that are recognized as having pleasurable and calming properties. (That’s why service animals are frequent guests of hospital patients!) There’s even a study that documents how oxytocin—one of the body’s “feel good” chemicals that plays a role in social bonding—is boosted when a person stares into the eyes of their pet dog!
Comfort and support. (And even more comfort and support!). Face it: Cats and dogs work their “magic” in mysterious ways we don’t even understand. The simple truth is that, for most people, they bring an added element of joy to life. Perhaps that’s why an estimated 68% of U.S. households have a pet.