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Why pets are good for your body and soul

LOVE YOUR PET
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Our cats, dogs and hamsters are the best relationship builders with other people.

Some say having a pet is a matter of great responsibility like it’s a bad thing. In fact, one of the best things about sharing one’s everyday life with an animal is related to the developing of a sense of responsibility for another being that happens to be completely dependent on one’s own volition: a domestic animal living in an apartment, a backyard or even a small farm won’t be fully able to provide food, water or shelter for itself. It’s all on its human owner.

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.

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