The Star-Herald

Creature comforts

Most of us can agree that having a pet around is something pretty amazing.  Animals are assets in our lives and play an important role, not only in the companionship that they provide, but they can also be a benefit healthwise. 

Researchers at the American Psychological Association say owning a pet brings with it many benefits, including improved health, greater self-esteem and less loneliness than those who don’t have animals at home. They believe that pets serve as important sources of social and emotional support for the average person, and not just individuals facing significant health.

Lead researcher, Allen R McConnell, of Miami University in Ohio, said: “We observed evidence that pet owners fared better, both in terms of well-being outcomes and individual differences, than non-owners on several dimensions.  Specifically, pet owners were more physically fit, tended to have less depression, were more conscientious, were more extraverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners.”

Pet owners are just as close to key people in their lives as to their animals, the study found.

This indicates no evidence that relationships with pets come at the expense of relationships with other people, or that people relied more on pets when their human social support was poorer.

The researchers found that writing about pets was just as effective as writing about a friend when it came to staving off feelings of rejection.

There is considerable evidence that pets benefit the lives of their owners, both psychologically and physically, by serving as an important source of social support.

There are also benefits to child development. Children who grow up in a household with pets benefit in many ways, especially in their emotional development. When a child is attached to a dog or cat, they learn to express themselves in more ways and they learn to relate better.

Why not consider reducing your stress and improving your health by stopping by the Central Aroostook Humane Society and finding a new pet that is just right for your family? Our hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., closing for lunch 12 from 12 to 12:30.  

Please be responsible: spay and neuter your pets.

“Animals are the bridge between us and the beauty of all that is natural. They show us what’s missing in our lives, and how to love ourselves more completely and unconditionally. They connect us back to who we are, and to the purpose of why we’re here” (Trisha McCagh).

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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