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Health Benefits of Having a Pet

One of the things I miss the most about having pets in my life is that wonderful, exuberant greeting I used to get whenever I came home. It didn't matter whether I had been gone for 20 minutes or 2 hours - my cats and dog were always there to meet and greet me enthusiastically at the door! Well OK, maybe the cats weren't there every time . . . . but my dog always did her welcome home "whirly dance" when I arrived!

Now really, let's be honest - how many humans will greet you like that when you come home?!

Having that unbridled, no-holds-barred joy and love available every day is probably one of the most positive emotional health benefits of having pets. Though they cannot speak in language as we know it, our pets' sweet, affectionate behavior makes us smile and brings out the best in us as humans. And the happier we are, the less likely we are to get sick.

Physically, studies show that having a pet lowers our blood pressure (maybe because we tend to be happy when they are near) and, if we have a dog who needs walking each day, doing that will likely improve our overall fitness level too. Interestingly, a new study also shows that children who grow up with a "furred" animal are less likely to have allergies!

Having a pet or pets in our lives is a responsibility in many ways. But the overall health benefits are more than worth the price!

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer