Why Man's Best Friend is Man's Best Friend (Part 2)


Chloe and me, soon after her arrival in Albuquerque. 
Picture by Joann Shinto, 2012 

Here is Part 2 of the article, “Why Man’s Best Friend is Man’s Best Friend” from the website Doctors Foster and Smith, giving us the emotional and social benefits of owning a dog.  (Click on this Entry for Part 1 of the article, that lists the physical benefits).

"Why Man’s Best Friend is Man’s Best Friend (Part 2)"

Emotional Benefits of Dog Companionship

Adjust to serious illness and death. Children often turn to their pet for comfort if a friend or family member dies or leaves the family. Grieving adults who did not have a close source of human support were also found to have less depression if they had a pet.

Be less anxious and feel safer. Pet owners tend to feel less afraid of being a victim of crime when walking with a dog or having a dog in the home.

Relax and reduce everyday stress. Pets can help us relax and focus our attention away from our problems and worries.

Have physical contact. This ability to have something to touch and pet is very important. More and more studies show how important touch is to our physical and emotional health.

Lift our mood and feel less lonely. Pets decrease our feelings of loneliness and isolation by providing companionship to all generations.

Have something to care for. Everyone needs to feel needed and have something to care for. Many elderly citizens or people living alone will tell you their pet gives them a reason for living.

Keep active. Having a pet can help us remain more active. We may not only get more exercise from walking a dog, but we also increase our activity through feeding, grooming, and otherwise caring for our pet.

Have consistency. Pets provide some consistency to our lives. Caring for a pet can significantly affect our routine and gives us something to do and look forward to each day.

Social Benefits of Dogs

Create a sense of closeness and well-being. Families surveyed before and after they acquired a pet reported feeling happier after adding a pet to the family.

Offer a topic of conversation. A study in a veteran's hospital showed that the residents had more verbal interactions with each other when a dog was present in the room than when there was no dog present. Dogs were also shown to increase socialization among persons with Alzheimer's disease in a Special Care Unit of a nursing home.

Promote interaction. Residents in long-term care facilities were more likely to attend activity sessions when an animal was going to be present.

Is there any wonder that the bond which began more than15,000 years ago still exists today? Dogs have an extraordinary affect on many aspects of the human condition. Their ability to act the clown, be non-judgmental, help us feel needed, offer unconditional love and trust, provide an ear to our troubles, and warm fuzzy fur to hold and stroke ensures them the well-deserved title of "man's best friend."

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