#SundayStills Health & Wellness Over 50s Lifestyle

Cats, Dogs or Humans – It’s all about connection for improved health & well being

March 28, 2021
Cats and Dogs

When I first started writing this post I was writing from the perspective of how pets can improve our health and well-being. However, when I looked at the reasons, I realised that humans can also provide the same benefits – it’s all about connection.

Are you a dog person or a cat person?

Perhaps you are neither and prefer birds or even guinea pigs or you prefer the company of humans! As for cats or dogs, it seems that most of us are either one or the other and a recent study through Roy Morgan Research in Australia showed that ‘50% of Aussies live in a household with at least one cat or/and dog in it’.

However, whichever side of the pet debate you are on, research shows that having a pet, especially a dog, definitely has a positive impact on our health and well-being. The same can be said for friendship. I recently asked the Women Living Well After 50 Facebook community their thoughts and it was pretty clear that cats and dogs were more than pets, but rather, important members of the family. There were a couple of answers that reflected human connection as well.

Cats for us these days – they’re quieter and easier to have around (although nothing beats a dog for giving you an excess of love and joyous greetings when you come home!) These are our two fur babies

Leanne from Cresting the Hill

Animals bring peace,companionship, unconditional love, fun & laughter. 

Leanne a member of the WLWA50 Community

I think Iā€™m more a people person!

Debbie from Deb’s World

Sometimes I think I’m more of a dog person that a people person. Did that come out loud?

Jo from Andanyways

March 28 is Respect Your Cat Day a day to celebrate you and your feline friends. Now if you are a dog lover don’t despair as August 26th will be National Dog Day when you can celebrate ‘man’s best friend’ and International Friendship Day on August 1st is the time to celebrate with friends of the human kind.

How Pets & Humans improve our health and well-being

Animals & Friends can become part of the family

‘You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family’ is an old saying and quality friendships are priceless. For some, our friends are more like family than blood relatives and the same goes for our pets.

One of my Saturday Sisters, has two cats who are such important members of her family. I asked her what having them in her life meant to her and her reply was:

Neko and Kobe make my heart melt, they are our welcome wagon

I love my grandpuppy! Yes I have a grandpuppy who is a Miniature Schnauzer and is so cute – she even has her own Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/wallis_the_pooch/ check here out!  Her name is Wallis and she thinks she is a human and sometimes so do I.

Pets in health care

We know the value of human connection and volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to society. At the aged care facility where my mother-in-law lived, there is a volunteer who regularly visits the residents with her dog, Bella.  Pet Therapy including Therapy Dogs International Nursing Home Program provides interaction with dogs and patients.  This type of therapy has shown to get responses from elderly patients who have withdrawn.  Pet therapy is widely used working with the elderly, children, people with special needs and in the area of mental health with positive results.

Reduces stress and lifts our mood

COVID-19 has maxed out our stress levels and the saving grace for many have been the connection with their pets. For many, social distancing meant little or no contact with family or friends, so Zoom meetings and Facetime were the perfect answer to stay in touch. Of course, physical connection can never be underestimated. Is there nothing more relaxing than sitting and stroking a purring feline or having a cuppa and a chat with a friend or just having a cuddle with your favourite human? This simple yet mindful act of spending time with your pet or friends or loved ones, assists in lowering our stress levels, help us to relax and be present in the moment.

Connection for Mind, body and spirit

Friends and Pets provide wonderful companionship at any age. They are a great source of comfort, as we age and find ourselves alone. Pets can provide companionship and help us maintain a purpose in our life.

I love running with my Saturday Sisters and I also have a running buddy on the Gold Coast. Buddies are a great way to commit to exercise and also provide a mental mood boost. Having a pet, such as a dog, helps to keep us fit as daily walks are required. Sometimes it is a case of your dog taking you for a walk as you try to keep up!

Blogging has also given me the opportunity to form lasting friendships within the blogging community. Mostly, this is online, however, I have had the opportunity to meet some friends in person which has been a joy.

For me, I am so grateful for the connection I have with my family, friends (near and far) and with you my subscribers who share my love of Living Well.Ā  Thank you for your continuing support and connection which I’m so grateful to have in my life.

Do you have a pet or do you prefer human connection or both?  How do your connections enrich your life?

 

This week’s Sunday Stills Photo Challenge ā€“ Second Wind Leisure Perspectives prompt’Respect Your Cat Day’ which is hosted this week by Marsha Ingrao of Always Write Why not pop over and see how others have interpreted the prompt?

Women Living Well After 50

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36 Comments

  • Reply Janet aka Middle Aged Mama February 20, 2017 at 12:06

    Sue, I have two fur babies – cats – Fleur and Seth. I wanted to have kitties for company now I work from home, especially with my own children grown up, I can lavish my love and attention on the fur babies instead!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 21, 2017 at 08:30

      Oh I love their names Janet and I’m sure you spoil them. I have friends with cats and they are spoilt rotten! LOL:) Enjoy your fur babies. xx

  • Reply Leanne | crestingthehill February 20, 2017 at 15:37

    I’m like Janet – we have two cats and I find them a perfect fit for our family now we don’t have children at home. Dogs and kids go really well together – not so much dogs and busy midlifers šŸ™‚ I do love the idea of pets visiting care facilities because they make such a connection with the residents.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 21, 2017 at 08:29

      yes Leanne, when I went to visit Luisa yesterday, Bella the labrador had just been to visit and Luisa just loved seeing her. It is so therapeutic x

  • Reply Denyse Whelan Blogs February 20, 2017 at 15:43

    I agree there are places for pets and if that works for you, in the home, that’s great. I am not sure I will do the pet thing again. Glad you are enjoying your daughter’s pooch! Thanks for linking up for #lifethisweek 8/52. Next Week: Taking Stock.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 21, 2017 at 08:27

      I know Denyse. I still am not sure if I am a pet person but I know my husband would love a dog. We will see…

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit February 20, 2017 at 16:38

    Haha, We are on the same page!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 21, 2017 at 08:26

      Well they do say ‘great minds’ LOL:)

  • Reply Jo Tracey February 20, 2017 at 17:51

    Mine is like my muse. She walks with me, snores while I write, snores while I watch telly. Love her to bits.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 21, 2017 at 08:26

      Sounds a lovely companion Jo. x

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl February 21, 2017 at 13:50

    Pet therapy days at my hospital are the happiest days of the week. The patients love the chance to interact with the pet therapy dogs while us staff members noticeably relax when we see the dogs trot through the ward.

    SSG xxx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 23, 2017 at 07:37

      They are a great idea SSG and I just experienced first hand at my MIL’s aged care facility. Everyone smiles when they see ‘Bella’ it is so uplifting. x

  • Reply Jennifer February 21, 2017 at 21:14

    Unfortunately, we’re currently pet-less, but we loved our cats and dogs while we had them.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 23, 2017 at 07:37

      We don’t have pets but I do visit my grandpuppy each week for some cuddles x

  • Reply Beth (GrannyBeth3) February 22, 2017 at 00:35

    We have a cat and a dog. I love them dearly and am embarrassed to admit that they fill in the holes that my grandchildren leave when I don’t see them for awhile. While I’m an exercise maniac, my walks with my Dog are moving meditations. My cat is an entity to himself until night time when he buries himself into my neck like he did when he was a kitten.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 23, 2017 at 07:38

      Don’t be embarrassed Beth, your cat and dog are part of your family. I love the idea of moving meditations when you walk with your dog. Have a lovely week Beth. xx

  • Reply Linda Hobden February 22, 2017 at 09:48

    I have 2 cats, Leo & Snowball – we have had them since they were 8 weeks old. They are now 18 months. They are supposed to be brother & sister but one is Black short haired & sleek and the other is white long haired and rounder with a cute face. When we picked them up we were told they were both males – but Snowball looked too cute & feminine to be male – even the sashaying walk gave it away. Finally the vet told us that Snowball was a female! ? The cats & my youngest sons are best buddies! ?

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 23, 2017 at 07:40

      Oh I love their names Linda – Linda & Snowball! They sound gorgeous and opposites in colour to each other. It must have been a surprise about Snowball but you probably had figured it out. Have a lovely day, Linda. xx

  • Reply Charlotte February 24, 2017 at 20:13

    awww what a cute grandpuppy!! I am an animal lover all round but I have cats at the moment and all of my family do too. My grandparents have always had cats and they love them!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 27, 2017 at 09:14

      Oh yes she is gorgeous Charlotte and such a little character.

  • Reply Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle February 26, 2017 at 18:08

    I just have a two legged pet at this time, and I love him to bits. If I was alone and could have a four legged pet I am sure I would.

    Kathleen

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 27, 2017 at 09:11

      Yes I agree Kathleen. If I was alone a pet would be wonderful company I believe. have a beautiful week Kathleen!

  • Reply Julie February 27, 2017 at 09:54

    We have four! Two cats and two dogs. We sadly lost one of each last year. We laughed when we got married that we had the animal Brady Bunch, three dogs and three cats. While we miss the two that we have lost through old age, a very painful experience, we both believe the joy they bring to everyday is worth the pain of missing them when they are gone. Animals bring great lessons and companionship at any stage of life. So thankful for our furry family members!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric February 27, 2017 at 09:56

      Oh Julie, how lovely to start off married life that way. Our pets become part of our family so we do grieve for them like anyone else we lose but we have the memories as you say and life is richer for having them in our lives. Have a lovely day!x

  • Reply Menaka Bharathi - Bloggers Pit Stop Crew February 28, 2017 at 01:37

    Such lovely names! I a pet person too, loved the reasons you have pointed out here. Thanks for joining the Bloggers Pit Stop

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 1, 2017 at 11:52

      yes Wallis is my daughter’s maiden name so that is how she named her pup. Thanks for hosting the Blogger’s Pit Stop Menaka and see you next week!

  • Reply Donna Connolly March 28, 2021 at 13:01

    Hi, Sue – I love how you addressed this week’s #SundayStills theme. YES to connections of all kinds!
    I 100% agree (and researchers agree too) that connections and interactions with each other, and with our pets, have long-term, significant health benefits. Richard and I currently do not have any pets in our home, but I am a member of a twice-weekly dog walking group, and we have a granddog and a grandkitty. I deeply miss these interactions when they are reduced or interupted.
    LOVE the photos of your grandpuppy!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 30, 2021 at 08:58

      Hi Donna, I started writing in one direction and then changed course to include humans! I love that you do dog walking and I’m sure Mike would enjoy that. He would love to have a dog but living in an apartment and if we ever travel again, having the responsibility of a dog can become an added burden rather than a joy.

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au March 28, 2021 at 13:09

    Hi Sue – I feel very special having our two fur babies featured on your blog today AND that lovely photo of the two of us together in Brisbane. Life is definitely all about connection and sharing ourselves with others – family, friends, pets and just those around us. One of the best parts of my morning walk is greeting the neighbourhood ‘friends’ I’ve made over the years – it definitely connects me into my community. Great post x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 30, 2021 at 09:00

      Yes and my running friend, Robyn felt special to have her ‘fur babies’ included as well. I rarely see any of my neighbours and have only made one connection since moving to the GC two years ago. I’m more of an online person and of course my Saturday Sisters and time with Rachel is enough for me. xx

  • Reply Joanne Tracey March 28, 2021 at 14:32

    My daughter often says that Kali, our 12-year-old cocker spaniel, is the favoured child…She sits by my side as I walk, when I get up so does she, she needs to always know where I am and if I’m stressed out, just patting her brings my heart rate down. She offers everything she has unconditionally. You certainly always know where you are with a dog & their joy in simple things is boundless.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 30, 2021 at 09:07

      I can feel your love for Kali, Jo and I know that dogs in particular are such a comfort to their owners. Wallis brings so much joy to Rachel’s family although I think she still thinks that two little humans were part of the deal. She is a bit of a princess really šŸ™‚

  • Reply Judith Pratt-Jefferies March 29, 2021 at 01:55

    Definitely a dog person although have lived with some very special cats in my life.. Currently have 2 chihuashuas and they are entertaing, good companions, and affectionate. Here on my usland there is always a need to rescue, support the groups that do so, and daiky feed and care fir stray animals that areca constant part of the beach comminity. Caring for animals fosters a compassionate attitude which spills over I believe into how we interact with other humans. A special support for me is that our little 5 pound Chi loves to sit on my lap, a real nurturing act that helps me destress. Can feel the blood pressure go down a level as I breathe in timevwith her.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 30, 2021 at 09:09

      Hi Judith, chichuashuas are so cute aren’t they? I can feel the tension slip away as I read about having your little Chi sitting on your lap and helping you destress. Enjoy your week. x

  • Reply Judith Pratt-Jefferies March 29, 2021 at 02:03

    Definitely a dog person although have lived with some very special cats in my life.. Currently have 2 Chihuahuas and they are entertaining, good companions, and affectionate. Here on my island there is always a need to rescue, support the groups that do so, and daily feed and care for stray animals that are a constant part of the beach community. Caring for animals fosters a compassionate attitude which spills over I believe into how we interact with other humans. A special support for me is that our little 5 pound Chi loves to sit on my lap, a real nurturing act that helps me de-stress. Can feel the blood pressure go down a level as I breathe in time with her.

  • Reply Debbie Harris March 30, 2021 at 07:23

    This was a creative interpretation for #SundayStills Sue and you have covered it perfectly. As per my quote in your post I have had dogs and cats over the years but now I prefer the human connections. I am fortunate to have a great blogging friendship base and local friends and love nothing more than staying in touch with them. Such great comments here too from everyone engaging with your post. Love the photos of us šŸ™‚

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