Val’s View: The Benefits of Our Furry Friends
Posted on 26 August 2020
Many of us have had animals in our lives since we were children, and I recall the pets of my past fondly. These recollections make me ponder how humans and animals' different personalities can connect forever. I know I am forever grateful for the animals I have had the pleasure of knowing.
My first memory is of my feline friend, Sasha, a cunning Siamese who would unlatch the porch door and kindly help herself to the lizards and crickets cowering in the grass outside. After her, a tomcat named Remus was the next pet who adopted my family. He was an outside guy who fought to become king of his turf so much that he decided to head back to the original one to resume his post when we moved to a new neighborhood.
When I was around 7, my family moved to a rural area where we had several horses. My favorite was Buddy, the tallest and most majestic one, who's back my parents sat me on one day. At that very moment, he decided that he was done grazing and took off at full speed with me still on him! I clung to his mane and giggled with joy. I wasn't afraid, but the respect and awe of that powerful gallop stayed with me.
There was a long pause between animals as I became a young adult and was frequently traveling. In my late twenties, I met my boyfriend's dog, Ray Jay, a lovable pitbull (which is not an oxymoron!). We would cruise down the street- me on roller skates, jamming to my Walkman and him, somehow in sync with the music's rhythm despite his poor hearing.
Have you ever had a sense that your animals can read your thoughts? They know when you need affection and can tell when you are unhappy. That unconditional bond is undeniable and sometimes very obvious.
We spend plenty of money on these furry family members, but they are never mad to see us and are impervious to our morning breath. They don't hold grudges or roll their eyes when they disagree. Snuggling and wagging tails are in their wheelhouse, and all they ask in return for this unwavering loyalty is a bit of back-scratching and head-scritching. My current pup, Karma, has the gall to also request several meals a day.
Did you know that having a pet can do amazing things for your health and wellbeing? Studies have shown that having a pet can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. On top of that, there are several other benefits of owning a pet, including:
- They keep you fit and on the go. It doesn't matter how lazy you are feeling, your furry friend will push you out the door and on that walk - maybe even multiple times a day.
- They can prevent bouts of loneliness. Animals make great companions and will always listen to your complaints and be up for a snuggle. Guess what they also won't try to fix anything!
- They can actually lower stress. Simply petting your cat or dog or watching your fish swim can bring you into the present moment and decrease your cortisol levels.
- They can help you make new friends. It is so much easier to strike up a conversation with someone about their pet or yours. I know I've made some friends this way.
- They can improve your immune system. Goodness knows we all need that right now. Pets often bring a lot of dirt and germs into the house - this will inevitably help improve your immunity to colds and other mild illnesses.
- They can catch cancer early. Isn't it crazy that pets have brought awareness to owners by pawing at, sniffing, or even licking a tumor in the body? They can make you feel safe, especially if you don't like being home alone. It is known that break-ins are much less likely to happen in homes with a dog.
I have personally learned the value and comfort that a pet provides in these uncertain times. A friendly face looking back at me is sure to have a calming effect. Companionship is crucial, and since dogs are pack animals, I sometimes wonder who the alpha is. Patience isn't ever easy, but maybe we can take a page out of our companions' books by stretching more, sleeping deeper, playing harder, and, most of all, being our most generous and loving selves. It is said that if the kindest souls lived the longest, our pets would outlive many of us.
People can often tell that you are an animal lover because of the fur clinging to your clothes, and if that is a pet peeve of yours, try wearing colors similar to your fur baby.
A microfiber v-neck top by Linda Leal is perfect for camouflaging with your animal's fur. It comes in 10 colors, so you can definitely find one that matches. Krazy Larry's Stripe Cotton Blend Pull-On Ankle Pant is another great way to disguise any stray strands of your fantastic beast.
If you have a Catzilla or a Dogenstein, conquer the battle against supervillain pet hair by throwing your clothes in the dryer on heat-free for a few minutes before washing them: it loosens up the fur. I even carry a small lint brush in my car for on-the-go touch-ups.
Are you an animal lover? Tell us about your favorite pets below!