Animal Interaction

Saturday is International Homeless Animals Day. We thought you should know that.

We thought you’d like to be aware that the third Saturday in August is the day designated back in 1992 by the International Society for Animal Rights for humans of the world to give a thought and a care to animals who probably would enjoy living in a nice, warm, loving home – but have none.

Now, we’re not asking you to head out to your local animal shelter and rescue a dog, cat or other lonely, possibly frightened, certainly homeless animal. What you do with your time, money and love absolutely is your business, of course.

But …

This is about YOU, not those furry, big-eyed, full-of-love animals just WAITING for the owners of their forever homes to show up and carry them away lovingly for their happily ever after.

Yes, it’s all about you, and the Centers for Disease Control offers scientific proof: Interacting with animals is good for your health.

Human-animal interaction of the gentlest kind is an acknowledged balm for the soul. Even simply watching an animal can sooth the savage beast that lurks within us all.

Researcher Jessica Gall Myrick of Indiana University examined the effect of cat videos on 7,000 respondents in a 2015 study. Gall Myrick concluded that her results “support a conceptual model arguing that the happiness gained from viewing internet cats can moderate the relationship between procrastination motives, guilt, and enjoyment.”

In other words: Watching cat videos not only made people happier; the activity also helped them feel less guilty about ignoring other duties because they were watching cat videos.

It’s a viciously cute cycle – watch cat videos, get happy, ignore the laundry, make it all better by watching more cat videos.

OK, enough about cats. And videos. This is, after all, about YOU.

Here, then, are seven scientifically proven health benefits people receive from owning, bonding with or even just visiting pets.

(And once you’ve absorbed this life-altering knowledge, please take a couple of minutes and answer the questions below to find out what animal most closely embodies your personality – your spirit animal. This is for entertainment purposes only; please don’t mistake your result for a reason you should adopt an elephant or a lion.)

  • A pet can help lower your blood pressure. As mentioned above, even just watching a cat video can be very soothing. Stress can contribute to the complications associated with high blood pressure, and bonding with a pat can reduce stress.
  • A pet can help you meet people. A friendly dog out in public just seems to invite conversation. Even people who might seem as different as sand and sugar might bond over an affinity for Italian greyhounds or pugs. And if there is anything better for mental health than a meaningful human-animal relationship, it’s the human-human relationship.
  • A pet might reduce the risk of heart disease. Some studies have shown that pet ownership could help reduce cholesterol and triglycerides, but the true heart-healthy benefit of a pet is the potential for increased exercise. This is particularly true for dog owners, who must get up off the couch at least a couple of times a day and get outside with their animal friend.
  • A pet can provide emotional ballast. Feeling blue? Play with your dog. Scratch your cat behind her ears. Feel the funk fade away.
  • A furry pet can potentially reduce the risk for children to develop allergies. A 2004 study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology concluded that having a dog or cat in the house can reduce a child’s chances of developing an animal allergy by 33 percent.

Now that you know why it’s a great idea to adopt a pet, why not find out …

What is Your Spirit Animal?

You find yourself with an hour of free time on the weekend. You take the opportunity to:

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