Giving Thanks for Our Pets

Once again it is that time of year to ask ourselves, “What am I thankful for?”

For me, my answer is always my ‘fur babies’. My life is so much richer because of their ecstatic greetings, wet little kisses, and warm sleepy bodies in my lap. Who else gives me such unconditional love and attention?

When I am sad, one or the other of my boys will  snuggle with me or kiss my face and stay close, comforting me. When I am happy, they jump for joy, chasing each other, being silly and sweet and making me laugh. How very thankful I am that they share my life with me.

God knew what he was doing when he made dogs and cats!

In thinking about this article, I did a little research about the benefits of pet ownership or, more precisely, having a furry family member. Here’s what I found out, curtesy of the WebMD article titled, “5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health” by Jeanie Lerche Davis. 

In Ms. Davis’s article she states that pets lower blood pressure, lessen anxiety and boost our immunity. Another benefit of owning pets with fur is, unlike what people thought in the past, regular exposure to their fur reduces allergies. In a study by James E. Gern, MD sited in the article, Dr. Gern found that the children in his study who lived with furbearing pets (dogs and cats) had lesser allergic reactions and asthma that those in the study who did not live with pets.

We all know that we feel better when we are with our dogs or cats and according to Lynette Hart, PhD, Alzheimer’s patients demonstrate reduced anxiety when around pets.

Playing with a dog or petting a cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine which are nerve transmitters that have pleasurable and calming properties, according to Blair Justice, PhD.

Again, according to the article, pet owners have less heart disease – in other words, lower levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. The overall health benefits for pet ownership are well enough documented that Midland Life Insurance Company gives insurance breaks for any pet owners over 75 years old.

So, if you are in doubt as to what to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season  just look to that furry cuddle-bug in your lap and humbly say, “thank you” for all the blessing they bring to you.

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