The pet hair removal industry is a multimillion dollar entity, set to sell us all things that promise to keep our houses, cars, and clothes free of the hassle of those little strands of love that fall from our furry friends. From vacuum filters to lint rollers to brushes for your pants and cloths for your walls, there is nothing that this industry hasn’t thought of when it comes to hiding the fact that your family includes a pet, lovingly chose or gifted to you, to hold a place in your heart that no one else can take.
But, why hide it? It has been said that a dog is man’s best friend, and the truth in that has been proven over and over through continual research on the impact of pets on our daily lives. Here are a few ways that pets improve the quality of life for those who care for them.
- If you own a pet, you’re literally never alone! It doesn’t matter if your pet has gills or fur, four legs or none, the presence of a pet reduces loneliness.
- Talking to your pet helps build confidence in communication. If you live alone, you may go days without talking to another person. You may feel like no one is listening, so experts recommend talking to your pet! Pets can pick up on human tone of voice, and they can be rapt listeners. A bonus to this one is that they can’t talk back, at least not in the same way your daughter who won’t take your advice does.
- Thinking about your pet helps you feel more positive! Knowing you have another living thing counting on you to live and thrive can make your outlook on life brighter. This also reduces depression and suicidal thoughts, causing an increase in happiness overall.
- Pets can help you make human friends, too! Folks love talking about their pets, so opening up those conversations around your pets can welcome them to discuss theirs. There are in person and online groups where pet owners can meet and even link up for pet play dates. It is easy to find information about the groups near you online or through your local pet store.
- They support you. And not only because you fill their food bowl! Studies have shown that pet owners feel that their pets support them just as much as their human loved ones. Pets love their humans unconditionally, so they are a constant source of support.
- Pets reduce stress. Pets don’t judge us and can sense when we are feeling stressed or upset. Just petting your dog or snuggling your cat can calm down anxious feelings. The release of oxytocin humans get from interacting with pets, regardless of what kind, is just what humans need to increase their calmness. This is why pets make great companions after medical procedures – this oxytocin helps lessen pain responses and reduces the amount of medication used to recover. This is also why veterans returning from combat and individuals with complex mental health conditions, such as PTSD, are recommended to pet ownership. A relationship with a pet brings a lifetime of joy.
- Pets are heart healthy! Likely due to the combination of unconditional love and support with those calming benefits, studies show that pets can help stabilize blood pressure and control blood pressure spikes that even medications can’t fix. Also, having a pet has been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Pets can make us more active. Even if it’s just a quick walk around the block or a splash in the local lake, pets need exercise to be healthy, just like humans! Having one makes people more active as well. It’s hard to deny Rover when he’s ready to cruise the block on a beautiful day.
Whether you spend hours agonizing over which rescue pup to bring home from the local Humane Society or your cat follows you home (“honest, Mom! It followed me! Can we keep it?”), your pets become your family. If you are lucky enough to have your clothes sprinkled with the tell-tale signs of cat ownership, white hairs sticking to your pants or tumbleweeds of golden brown hair rolling across your floors when the furnace kicks on, then you are lucky enough indeed.
Never apologize for pet hair – it is a sign of a life well loved.
Did you know Meals on Wheels also delivers pet food through their Wheels for Wags program? If you or someone you love is a pet owner who receives Meals on Wheels services, please contact your local office to let them know so that they can help take care of your pet while also helping take care of you. Donations are always welcome.