Friday, June 22, 2012

Pet People are Healthy People

Over the years there have been countless experiments and studies on the positive psychological effects of having a furry friend. Wither you prefer them big or small, with paws or claws, their companionship has been shown to increase your happiness.

According to a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, pets offer the same emotional benefits as human friendship. The study used questionnaires, surveys, and focus groups to determine that the overwhelming majority of participants that own a pet measured higher in self-esteem and lower in loneliness. The study also states; "We repeatedly observed evidence that people who enjoyed greater benefits from their pets also were closer to other important people in their lives and received more support from them, not less."

This statement shows the benefits that being an enthusiastic pet owner will have on our social lives and how we benefit in our everyday routine. Wether it be waving to the neighbors while they go on a family walk with their dog, a Facebook post update of a friend’s cat in a cute costume, or a wedding speech that includes the bride and groom’s shared love for the dog they consider their “spoiled child”, our lives have become socially intertwined with the lives of our furry family members.

Pets’ ability to increase self-esteem has led them into roles for many varying rehabilitation services. Some pets have entered into the workforce as full-time morale boosters in hospitals, retirement homes, and even prisons! North Carolina, along with many other states, has implemented a state sponsored program that allows prisoners to train shelter dogs.  “A New Leash on Life is a program that allows minimum and medium custody state prisons to partner with local animal shelters, animal welfare agencies, and/or private non-profit agencies to train dogs in preparation for their adoption.”

An inmate works with a dog in the New Leash on Life program
Programs like New Leash on Life are the ultimate example of the benefits that come from a human/pet relationship. Whatever the setting and whatever the pet type, there is an obvious correlation between the love that is put in and the benefits that can be gained as pet people.

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  1. Oh, this is so true! Pets have such great health benefits for their owners. :)