Our cats, dogs and hamsters are the best relationship builders with other people.
But your dog, cat, parakeet or hamster is not the only beneficiary of this relationship. For instance, the Department of Pediatrics of the School of Medicine and Public Health of the University of Wisconsin has confirmed children exposed to dogs and cats are less likely to develop allergic diseases. Sharing one’s infancy with furry companions — especially around the time of birth — positively influences and helps develop kids’ immune system.
But not only kids benefit from having a pet around. In an article published by Barbara Ballinger on AgingCare.com, psychotherapist Dr. Jay P. Granat affirms that since cats and dogs live pretty much in the “here and now,” and don’t really care about tomorrow (as animals lack that kind of self-awareness, according to most philosophers and animal ethicists), they help older adults not to excessively focus on tomorrow and enjoy the present more fully. Also, as they provide companionship, pets help fight depression caused by loneliness.
Pets help people build relationships, not only with other animal lovers, but in general. By providing a sense of “otherness,” pets can indeed “teach” their human owners the basics of bonding with “someone” else in very basic levels, thus giving their owners some fundamental, ABC-kind-of “training” to deal with the complexities proper to human relationships.
Read more: The real reason we love our pets so much
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?