Stillwater News Press

Local Columnists

June 28, 2014

Live Well 06-29-14

Saved by a shelter pet

Most people are aware that Stillwater Animal Welfare is full of cute cats and dogs available for adoption, but did you know that when you save a pet that your pet saves you, too?

Recent scientific studies have been exploring the benefits of the human-animal bond. Even petting a dog or cat lowers blood pressure and gives a feeling of well-being for both the animal and the person. Pets can reduce tension and improve mood. The American Heart Association has linked the ownership of pets, especially dogs, with a reduced risk for heart disease and greater longevity.

Here are just a few more benefits you gain when you adopt a shelter pet: when you cuddle your pet, you will experience uncomplicated and unconditional love that is the perfect antidote to any problem, large or small.

You will never lack for companionship. Your pet will get you off your couch, so your activity level will increase. You will meet new people when you walk your pet, go to pet stores, go to training classes or join animal related clubs. Pets will add structure and routine to your day which is beneficial for your sense of well-being.

Children benefit as much as adults when adopting pets. Not only do pets teach responsibility but also compassion and empathy. Owning a pet is calming for children, and open new experiences for learning and creativity. A loving pet can give a sense of security for a child. Of course, children and pets need to be shown how to behave around each other, a benefit to both emotionally.

Adopters should consider their lifestyle when adopting a pet. Do you enjoy a lot of outside activity or do you really prefer being indoors most of the time? Who makes up your household? Is it just you or are there children or someone older in the home? Is your house noisy or quiet? Do you already have other pets in the home? All of these factors are important when you decide to choose a shelter pet.

Animal Welfare has dogs and cats at the shelter with all kinds of personalities and activity levels. Many of our pets were found so it is important to visit with them and bring along as many family members as possible to interact with them as you make your choice.

We occasionally even have other kinds of pets, such as rabbits or ferrets. Remember that adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment to that pet, possibly 15 years for dog or 20 for a cat; however, the benefits of this commitment are priceless.

Could today be the day that a shelter pet saves you?

Mary Dickey is director of the Stillwater Animal Welfare Shelter.

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