Thursday, March 11, 2010

PETS – How They Enrich Our Lives & Improve Our Health

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. ~unknown

Anyone who loves and owns a pet knows the joy of companionship and love they provide. Pets are our devoted friends. Following are just some of the many benefits that having a pet can bring:

Love & Affection

Pets offer humanity one thing that we all need and seek, that is, the miracle-working power of unconditional love. People with pets experience that love because they know they don’t have to earn it. Their pets love them just the way they are. When they are irritable or moody, their pet is forgiving and accepting. When they are apart, they know they are missed and will be greeted with excitement and an affectionate welcome. It can make them feel like the most important person in the world, and they actually are to their pet.

Pets express affection to their owners and this loving act reminds them that they are loved. Pet behavior is actually more consistent when compared to human behavior, which can be unstable and unpredictable at times. Therefore, pet owners can be secure in knowing that their pet’s love and affection will not be withdrawn unexpectedly. Emotionally, they can experience a love that is accepting and does not have to be earned from their pets. This experience of unconditional love can be very therapeutic as it is a constant reminder that they are valuable, special, and worthy of love and respect.


Pets keep us company. They can help ward off feelings of loneliness and isolation. The very presence of a pet reminds us that we are not physically alone. Pets provide a unique bond and companionship that also helps in warding off feelings of disconnection from others. Caring for pets requires verbal and/or nonverbal communication with them. In turn, pets respond and follow. They provide a listening ear to our troubles as well. Talking to them or showing and receiving affection are healthy ways to feel more connected with our loving companions.

Relaxation & Comfort

Research studies consistently show that pets help us relax. Simply stroking a pet lowers blood pressure and calms us. Pets provide comfort and affection that help to reduce stress. They help to divert attention away from problems. Pets also provide enjoyment and make us laugh, releasing the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Pets are good for our emotional as well as physical health.

A Rewarding Relationship

We all need to have a sense of purpose in our lives, something to do and look forward to every day. Aside from our work and other responsibilities, we need meaningful and rewarding ways to give out and enjoy life. Having a pet provides us with an important responsibility and a chance to give our time and attention to a rewarding relationship. Pet owners know that they are counted on every single day to care for their pet’s many needs—feeding, bathing, exercise, grooming, and affection. Having a pet to take care of gives us the sense that we are needed and responsible for our companion who counts on us. This can be healthy for our self-esteem as it keeps us actively involved in caring for something other than ourselves. And in that there is great reward and fulfillment.

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved. Written by Krystal Kuehn,

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. ~ Josh Billings

Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher and musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling Services, a marriage counseling and family therapy center and, an award-winning, self-help and personal growth site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights and inspiration.

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