By Emsie Martin
Many of us cannot always understand why there are people who don’t like animals, but the bond between man and animals enjoys attention worldwide due to the mutual benefits it contains for both parties.
Animals are being increasingly utilised as substitutes for social interaction in homes for the elderly, nursery schools and hospitals. Pets and companion animals can therefore serve as objects for unloading tension on the one hand, and as a link to nature on the other. Pets have an important influence on how people feel about themselves and about life. The emotional, social and physical contributions and benefits of pets and companion animals (particularly dogs) are indispensable for humans.
- A person’s mood is improved. Pets decrease the feeling of loneliness and isolation because they offer camaraderie.
- There now is someone to care for and to feed. Many older people who live alone will tell you that their pets are their reason for living.
- People adapt more readily after serious illness or death. Children talk to their pets for consolation if a friend or family member has died.
- Grieving adults who aren’t close to a source of support, experience less depression if they own pets.
- People are less anxious and feel safer. Dog owners are inclined to be less afraid and feel less threatened that they might become victims of crime.
- Pets promote relaxation and relieve everyday stress. Pets can contribute to people being more relaxed, so that they don’t concentrate on problems and worries.
- Physical contact with animals is psychologically important for humans.
- Owning a pet contributes greatly to keeping a person active. The person not only gets exercise because he walks his dog, but his activity is also increased by him having to provide the pet with food, brushing him and playing with him.
- Pets contribute to firm principles or consistency. To take care of and care about a pet have a considerable influence on an owner’s routine. It gives him a task to perform every day and to which he can look forward to.
- It creates a feeling of wellbeing and closeness. Surveys done before and after a family acquired a pet, show that a family is happier after the pet was added to the family.
- Conversing with someone else is stimulated. People at a vet’s clinic chat to each other more readily in the presence of a dog, than when there isn’t a dog.
- Residents of long-term caring facilities are more willing to attend activity sessions where an animal is present.
- Dog owners’ chances of living longer after a heart attack are more favourable.
- Persons with pets have lower levels of cholesterol and triglyceride, compared to people with no pets.
- The heart speed and blood pressure of persons undergoing stress tests or physical examinations in the presence of a dog, lower during the tests.
- Pet owners sometimes enjoy better physical health, because they have a need for physical exercise and want to take care of their pets.
- They decrease doctor’s appointments and have minor health problems. The use of prescription medicine and the total cost for the patient’s care in a nursing home decrease when companion animals are included in the treatment.
- Some people who suffer from periodic epileptic attacks, say their dogs can sense it before they themselves do so.
- There are animals who alert their owners to episodes of developing incidents of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and this affords the owner the opportunity to take action and prevent falling into a coma.
Dogs and cats are the most common pets worldwide. Because they enhance our quality of life, we also have to remember to provide them with nutritious, balanced food for optimal health.
“Dogs don’t make judgments about physical appearance or abilities, and they don’t care how big your house is or what you do for a living. They care about the quality of your character and your capacity to love.” – Elizabeth Eiler, Reiki master and author
“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.” – Martin Buber, German philosopher