Let’s talk about the unexpected and surprising benefits of having pets in your life.
Did you know that there is a powerful bond between animals and humans?
One of the more beautiful and unifying aspects of humanity is witnessing the extraordinary lengths some animal lovers will go to for their animal companions.
Non animal lovers may not get it at all… yet.
So here’s the thing: They enjoy a mutual, deep bond and connection that is hard to explain or define, but it doesn’t make it any less real or tangible.
Many people have learned the benefits of having pets. And a pet of any kind, whether it’s a cat, dog, horse, lizard, or bird who feels loved and secure, will bring great joy to their human.
While some pet owners go to extravagant lengths for their fur babies – throwing them elaborate weddings or birthday parties or dressing them up in awesome costumes – even the simple act of acknowledging their loyalty and love for you is a gift that will reap a lifetime of rewards.
Pets are a window to our soul.
One of the many benefits of having pets is when they show you who you really are. They do that by reflecting, mirroring and acting out aspects of your inner self. And when you pay attention to their messages they can help you become a better person.
This is the phenomenon I call The Human Animal BodyMind Connection and it’s an extraordinary thing that once you understand it, it will change your life.
They have no capacity for spite or guile.
When you listen to them, what are they saying about how you’re caring for yourself… and them?
They will innately reflect your sense of health and well-being. They are attuned to your energy – mind, body and emotions – and can send you messages about brewing problems long before others can perceive signs of trouble.
And, they can be a great comfort during times of stress, isolation or loneliness.
Health benefits of having pets
We’ve all heard clichés like, “Dogs are man’s best friend.”
But have you wondered why? I’ll tell you my belief…
Dogs are loyal to a fault.
Animals find joy in the simplest, smallest things.
They have no need for excuses or pretense, they are only ever being themselves.
They go to sleep unencumbered by daily worries and wake up every morning with a clean slate, ready to take on the world with fresh eyes and spirits.
Their buoyancy, resilience, devotion, determination, and optimism are infectious.
Yet, many animals also have an innate sense when someone is in need of support. They don’t always take on the worry… they simply reach out to comfort a person in pain.
Not every dog, cat, or horse will be a therapy animal who trains for care in a hospital, as a service animal or companion during times of crisis…
But you should know that your pet is picking up signals from you at all times.
Your horse will sense the tension in you and try to make sense of it, then decide how to help you with that.
Your dog will follow you around the house when they read negative energy trying to figure out what’s wrong and how to help you.
You might think they’re being a pest – especially when you’re feeling agitated. Stop and receive the gift of their love for what it is, and have a conversation with them about what’s bothering you. You’ll feel better for it, and when you know how to talk with animals they’ll be able to tell you what they think too.
Animals understand when things are going wrong, but they lack the power to fix them… or do they?
Countless studies have shown that there is healing power in having a cat purr on your lap, having a dog rest their head in your lap, having a horse remain still while you stroke their face.
Research has revealed that the bond between people and their pets increases fitness, lowers stress, and bring joy to their owners. Some of the many benefits of having pets are that people enjoy:
- Decreased blood pressure
- Decreased cholesterol levels
- Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
- Decreased triglyceride levels
- Decreased feelings of loneliness
- Increased opportunities for socialization
Pets won’t let you withdraw, isolate, or cocoon all alone
It’s very difficult to socialize in today’s world… and that can magnify depression, anxiety, and a sense of isolation.
Your pet needs your care and attention during good times. They need to play games with you, go for walks with you, learn from you. And, during bad times they still need all those things, but can sense that things aren’t right, when you’re in pain.
When your dog becomes obsessed with bringing you a toy, or seems to be nagging you to go for a walk, listen to them.
Your cat might be circling your home office chair, pouncing on your computer, intent on distracting you… but really, they’re probably telling you it’s time to change your focus.
Often they’ll notice that your breathing has become shallow, your circulation is weakening, and your energy is faltering… it worries them. Time to take a break!
Time spent caring for a pet releases serotonin and dopamine, two hormones that trigger a pleasure response.
Pets are highly intuitive creatures. And the more time they spend with you, the better they get to know you and become attuned to your lows and highs.
The benefits of having pets go beyond heroic rescue dogs
We all have a picture in our mind of German Shepherds finding lost children in the woods, highly trained Golden Retrievers who have learned to sense seizures in their owners, therapy dogs that visit hospitals to comfort patients…
But pets don’t have to be doing “heroic” deeds to be a hero in your life, and they don’t have to all be dogs either.
Birds, bearded dragons, horses, chickens all make a difference.
Believe it or not, watching your goldfish swim in and out of their little castle for 10 minutes lowers your blood pressure, and your stress.
Having a pet…
- forces you to focus on someone vulnerable outside yourself, and make the effort to tend to their needs which helps you tend to your own needs as well
- gets you outside for some exercise because after all, enjoying nature and getting offline is critically important for your own health and well-being as well as theirs
- makes you step away from the computer and simply play, lighten up, refresh and reboot so you can reconnect
Whether you get an iguana, a beagle, a Siamese cat, or a parakeet, you’ll enjoy the benefits of having pets in your life.
Take the time to learn how they communicate with you… they have insights to share if you’re willing to listen and learn.