The road to happiness begins with a pet


Jason Farnsworth

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Avery Fitz, The Delphi Editor

Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows that a terrible day can quickly turn around after just a few minutes of some puppy kisses, some time spent snuggling with a purring cat, or listening to the joyful squeaks of a guinea pig munching on a carrot treat. It’s a well-established fact that people all around the world are happier and healthier because of owning a pet.

While owning a pet is a big responsibility and can take a great deal of work to look after, pets also come with numerous benefits to make up for that. Whether it’s a fish or a dog, a hamster or a pot-bellied pig, an iguana or a cat, owning a pet is extremely good for your physical and mental health.

When you own a pet, it increases the chance of you going outdoors and getting a breath of fresh air, exercising, and socializing with others.  Researchers at Michigan State University found that dog owners are 34% more likely to reach the federal benchmarks set for physical activity. Walking and playing with pets can also lower the chances of a stroke and lower your blood pressure, along with cholesterol levels.

A variety of studies have found evidence that some dogs can detect cancer in humans for early intervention, sniff out peanuts for those with severe allergies, and even detect an imminent earthquake to ensure early evacuations. As a matter of fact, seizure assistance dogs are used by individuals who have epilepsy, and can help make sure a person is turned on their side during a seizure to prevent asphyxiation; these dogs are also trained to bark until help arrives.

And there is no surprise to the fact that spending time in the company of an animal can help manage depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

Every animal is intelligent, especially dogs. Police dogs are constantly being trained to sniff out drugs and track a lost or at risk individual just based on his or her scent. Firefighter and therapy/service dogs undergo extensive training to come to the rescue in crises.

There are many stories of family pets such as cats and dogs alerting their owners to house fires, such as the case of a family dog awakening his deaf owner during a house fire so that they could escape in time.   

If you are concerned with you physical and/or mental health, or even if you are perfectly happy, consider adopting a new pet: they are guaranteed to add years of health and happiness to your life!