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Pets Are Used For Therapeutic Value
Posted on : 11/16/2009 10:18:40 PM

  All of us pet owners know the joys that sharing our home with an animal can bring to us, whether it is a dog, cat, ferret or a chameleon. The one thing that most pet owners do not realize is the therapeutic values of owning a pet. Our beloved companions will help to improve our mental and physical health and can even extend our lives. Research has shown that owning a pet will brighten your outlook on life and provide substance to your life.

Researchers perform various studies exploring the benefits that pets can bring to the people who care for them. Findings have prompted numerous studies and applications in which pets are used to treat the mentally ill, give new life to the elderly, motivate the handicapped, provide calmness to overly aggressive people, help with depression of the lonely and give renewed purpose to the forlorn. Interaction with pets has even been shown to help lower blood pressure and improve the life expectancy of heart patients.

Pets help in curing loneliness and have been shown to increase their owners' chances of meeting new people. Studies have shown that persons accompanied by their dogs, tend to converse with more people and had longer conversations than when they walked alone.

Nursing homes are using pets to lift the spirits of and brighten the outlook of life with their residents. A University of Minnesota study of long-term health care facilities disclosed that several facilities are using pets to help rehabilitate their residents. Pets were said to provide nursing-home residents with entertainment and enjoyment, to serve as an outlet for the expression of feelings, rekindle pleasant memories and create a more homelike atmosphere.

Dramatic improvements in outlook and physical abilities have been noted among nursing-home residents as a result of pet programs. Previously uncommunicative and bedridden patients have started talking to the staff and other residents about their pet companions and some have even got up and taken their pet for a walk.

There are numerous studies and pet programs being evaluated and most support the findings that pets introduced to elderly people sparked ''dramatic transformations'' in the person's life. Observations suggest that the love and affection of a pet is the key to the benefits, showing an association with higher morale, greater social activity and better physical health.

Pets can also be a source of solace (a teddy bear for all ages) and help to dissipate negative emotions like anger, disappointment and grief. Virtually all people talk to their pets and sometimes use them to work through conflicts or problems.

Pets are, ''nonthreatening, nonjudgmental, open, welcoming, accepting and attentive.'' Unlike spouses or parents, they don't talk back, criticize or issue commands. They give people something to care and worry about and be responsible for and make them feel needed and useful.

Pet ownership can help to teach responsibility to children, nurturing, compassion, loyalty and empathy. Unlike adults in their interaction with children, pets are uncritical, consistently loving and don't give orders.

In many households, both parents are often still at work when children come home from school. In these cases, pets offer children a dependable ''welcome home'' and a feeling of security. Pets, especially dogs, can offer protection, unequaled companionship and devotion along with unconditional love.

Pets can also help you organize your day

Pets that are used to a schedule of a 7 A.M. walk, feeding or any other ritual are not likely to let miss the appointed time. Pets provide a sense of purpose, enhance self-esteem and self-control and generally alleviate the adverse effects of stress.

Though, there are many blessings possible by owning a pet. Owning a pet can also have its disadvantages. Proper health care and nutrition can be costly, pets are demanding of your time with training and desired attention and can even become a source of family conflict, when Dad ends up walking the dog that his child agreed to care for. Still, many benefits of owning a pet have been noted in various recent studies.
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