Monday, June 6, 2016

"More than you know...."

                 My heart was shattered by the death of a beautiful, soft, sweet, soulful brown eyed cocker spaniel a few years ago and it still hasn't mended. Such is the power of love. Pets- our dogs, cats, horses, hamsters, lizards, ferrets and more have been honored with an Appreciation Week, (June 5th thru the 11th) and a World Pet Memorial Day, (June 12th.) Why? Don't be so cynical. As astrophysicist, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson reaffirms in the Nova feature above we have a special relationship with our four legged friends stretching far back in human history.
          Dogs are not only trusted, affectionate, loyal companions, hunters, guides, searchers and field workers, they are keenly intelligent therapists, intuitive healers and protective guardians. Pets can serve as important sources of social and emotional support. Individuals facing significant health challenges such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or severe depression have shown remarkable improvement in overall quality of life from pet companionship. According to research published by the American Psychological Association  pet owners were just as close to key people in their lives as to their animals indicating no evidence that relationships with pets came at the expense of relationships with other people or that people relied more on pets when their human social support was poor or unreliable.  The results of the study were reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published online by the APA .

     According to researchers studying human-pet relationships, " We observed evidence that pet owners fared better both in terms of well-being outcomes and individual differences than non-owners on several dimensions.” said lead researcher, Allen R. McConnell, PhD, of Miami University in Ohio. “Specifically, pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extroverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners." Sounds like caring for a pet has resulted in a wonderful list of physical and mental health benefits. Personally, pet ownership was an enriching, unforgettable experience prompting one simple warning: Be prepared to have your heart broken.

 The month of June also features:

Adopt-A-Cat Month

National Pet Preparedness Month 

Animal Right's Awareness Week (19-25)

Take Your Dog to Work Day  June 24th

World Pet Memorial Day  June 12th