“Man’s best friend” might have more benefits than just keeping you company. There are proven health benefits that pet ownership has on an individual. Researchers have found after 25 years of findings that pets have positive effects on the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of a person’s wellness. From decreasing stress to guiding the visually impaired, our furry friends have a tremendous impact on our lives. If you are not a pet owner, it is time to adopt or take a trip to your local pet store because they will literally change your life for the better.
Researchers at the University of New York at Buffalo discovered that when people were conducting a stressful task, they felt less stressed when their pet was nearby. Nicole Gallagher, a sophomore psychology student adds, “When doing schoolwork, I need to have my dog nearby. Her presence calms me when I am stressed.” Have you ever wondered why Monmouth has dogs on campus during finals week? Those puppies are brought to campus to help students during the most stressful time of the semester. Some universities are animal- friendly. It is believed to be beneficial to college students to have an animal because it gives them an opportunity to take care of not only themselves, but another living thing. Their presence does not only ease stress, but they also provide social support.
Christopher Hirschler, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Health and Physical Education shared his thoughts on an animal’s impact on one’s life, “Most of us experience some degree of stress, judgment, and social isolation. Animals are the antidote. We give animals what they need and in return, they help us in a multitude of ways.”
When compared to non-pet owners it has been discovered that those with a pooch have higher self-esteem and are less lonely. We call our animals buddy for a reason. They promote a sense of belonging and are there for us whenever we are having a bad day. Not only do animals depend on us for caregiving, but we also depend on them. Their entire lives are devoted to pleasing their owner or master. Everyone needs that one person or thing in their life that is always constant. For some people, that thing is their pet. Not everyone has a significant other or family. Therefore, their companion becomes their animal who is always there to listen to them when they talk and welcome them home after a long day at work.
Pets are not all fun and games at the end of the day. They might be cute but they are a lot of hard work. Someone has to feed, clean, train, and walk the animal. However, taking care of another living thing will foster a sense of responsibility. Meaghan Wheeler, a secondary education student with a minor in race and ethnic studies shares, “My dogs have taught me how to be selfless and take care of something defenseless, my dog has more importantly taught how to unconditionally love and give loyalty.”
Physically, pets surprisingly lessen a child’s risk of developing allergies and asthma. According to a study conducted by the National Academy of Science, exposure to dogs during early development strengthen their immune systems to fight off allergens. Your childhood pet might be the one to thank if you seem to never have to combat the sniffles during allergy season.Also, pet owners are more typically more physically active. They encourage you to take walks and play fetch, which forces you to run around a little bit while chasing after them with their toys.
It has been scientifically proven that pets have a positive impact on our lives. It is time to make your way to the pet store or local shelter to buy a fish, hamster, cat, dog or any animal that make a great companion. An animal’s constant need for care will lessen any feelings of loneliness and provide you with a sense of purpose. Having something that is a constant in your life that is there to love you unconditionally and depend on you is the best thing in the world. So head over to your local shelter or pet store to not only gain a pet, but a best friend that will have a positive impact your life.
PHOTO TAKEN by Courtney Buell
PHOTO TAKEN by Amanda Gangidino