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 babiesLeanne from Cresting the Hill
Animals bring peace,companionship, unconditional love, fun & laughter.Leanne a member of the WLWA50 Community
I think I’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. 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 – 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?