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The pros of man's best friend

Ivana Pelisek | Interrobang | Opinion | February 2nd, 2009

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
Pets are not only fun to have around, but it also turns out they may help reduce significant health complications, suggests research.

Without a doubt, pets give people unlimited love and trust and a sense of providing basic necessities for an animal is an over-all satisfactory feeling.

But, pets go far beyond than just someone to go on walks with.

Back in 1999, a study in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society looked at nearly 1,000 men and women (average age: 73 years) and found that owning a cat or dog helped maintain or even slightly enhance their activities of daily living (ADL) score.

According to the study, this scale included questions about being able to do activities like walking several blocks, getting in and out of bed, preparing meals, bathing and dressing, and simple daily tasks.

This study did not find a direct link between psychological well-being and pet ownership.

The people questioned in the survey who owned pets and experienced lower social support in a crisis situation were less likely to experience a decline in their psychological well-being when compared to those with lower social support who did not own a pet.

After numerous studies conducted all over the globe, it is evident pets play a vital role to owners who appreciate the simple joys in life.

One study indicates that older people, who have pets, are less likely to use physician services unnecessarily. Other research suggests that owning a pet reduces everyday stresses that are bound to come up with daily activities.

In addition, studies have shown that persons who own pets may have significantly lower systolic blood pressure, triglyceride values, and cholesterol levels than those who do not own pets...even after accounting for additional exercise and other differences that might be present.

Having a pet adds joy and brings life to every household. There is something comforting with a pet's presence that makes any size problem appear small when spending time with your little furry friend.

Speaking from experience, I too enjoy the time I spend with my German shepherd puppy Kajah. Moving to London with a puppy to care for has been a much greater experience than I can ever picture without having her.

So the one main question remains about whether or not you yourself should go out and get a pet to love and care for? Is owning a pet right for you?

No one is suggesting or even implying you must go to your nearest pet store and purchase a puppy or a kitten.

Though this preliminary research suggests that pet ownership may be beneficial to your health, you need to make sure that the pet you choose fits in with your lifestyle, habits, experience, and expectations.

Pets are completely dependent on you for everything, so it's important to make sure that you're willing to commit to the responsibilities they entail.

If you've never had a pet before, starting out with a fish or hamster might be a better choice than jumping right into dog or cat ownership.

There are a number of resources that can help you see if owning a pet is right for you.
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