To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on my front door:
To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About My Pets:
1. They live here. You don't.
2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. That's why they call it 'fur'niture.
3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours
and doesn't speak clearly.
Remember: Dogs and cats are better than kids because they:
1. Eat less
2. Don't ask for money all the time
3. Are easier to train
4. Normally come when called
5. Never ask to drive the car
6. Don't hang out with drug-using friends
7. Don't smoke or drink
8. Don't have to buy the latest fashions
9. Don't want to wear your clothes
10. Don't need a gazillion dollars for college, and...
11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children.
YOUR HAPPY AGING PET
-Keren Baltzer, Copy Editor
Guideposts | May 2008
Although dogs, cats, horses and many other animals have shorter life spans than humans, they now live longer and have a higher quality of life than ever before. As a caring owner, you play a key role in helping your senior pet remain healthy.
Regular check-ups are critical to identifying problems. Dental exams should be part of your pet's routine. Good dental hygiene can add three to five years to your pet's life! Don't allow your pet to become overweight and make sure vaccinations are up to date.
Keeping your pet mentally active is especially important. Teach them new tricks and spend lots of playtime with them. You can even try introducting a new pet. Your older pet may take responsibility for the new pet
by showing it the "ropes" around the house and may be more alert with another animal around. By being proactive in your pet's care, you'll have a healthier, happier pet to the end of its life.
Why Pets Can Be Good for Your Health
A survey by the American Animal Hospital Association found that three-quarters of pet owners say affection is their pet's most endearing quality. Now a review of the research from Stanford University shows that the love goes both ways and suggests that our own altruistic behavior makes caring for pets so beneficial.
"The attachment we feel to our pets is similar to the unconditional love a parent feels for a child," says Marivic Dizon a postdoctoral candidate at Stanford University. "Acts of kindness and compassion directed at animals are authentically altruistic. There are few social benefits to such actions beyond the possible reciprocation of love from the animal." Dr. Dizon explains that altruism is linked to improved mental and physical well-being, and the care and nurturing we give animals offers similar benefits. Whether you're rescuing an injured bird or stroking your dog's
belly, you will likely be boosting your own health and well-being.
Dizon reports that adults and children who feel empathy towards their pets manifest stronger feelings of empathy toward other people. In Project Pooch, incarcerated youth who learned to care for dogs that had been abandoned also learned greater honesty, empathy, nurturing, social growth, respect for authority, and leadership. A study of women in prisons who trained dogs to help the handicapped found that the women's self-esteem increased significantly.
One long-term study on pet ownership found that adopting a pet is associated with almost instantly improved physical and emotional well-being. This may be in part because caring for a pet connects us more strongly to society.
This information is intended to supplement the care provided by your physician and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. We urge you to consult with your doctor on any questions you may have regarding a medical condition-or before making any
significant changes in your eating or exercise habits.
From "Unconditional Love; Healing from Pets" by Jill Neimark, Spirituality & Health Magazine (July/August 2005).