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December 2, 2020

11/20/2020 3:17:00 PM
Adopt a pet to be a happier, healthier person
Staff


Today, on the Iowa County Humane Society website, www.ichs.net/index.php, I saw 33 cats and one dog ready for adoption. I immediately hoped someone would appreciate the friendly kitty and dog faces and adopt a pet.
Having been born to cattle ranchers Jack and Julie Kenyon and living mostly on Texas ranches from infancy to mid-adulthood, livestock and pets were part of my life. I state unequivocally that having pets, horses, and cattle made me a happier and better person.
Researchers suggest that pets have helped during the pandemic. I don't advocate that you get a pet just for the pandemic. I advocate that you get a pet for companionship and health benefits until the pet's natural life ends. A pet is a family member.
New research indicates pets are linked to humans "maintaining better mental health and reducing loneliness during lockdown," Science Daily said. The online news service touts having the latest research news and top science headlines.
A study from the University of York and University of Lincoln in the UK focused on the pandemic. "Most people who took part in the research perceived their pets to be a source of considerable support during the lockdown period (March 23-June 1, 2020)," the Daily said.
"More than 90 percent of respondents said their pet helped them cope emotionally with the lockdown and 96 percent said their pet helped keep them fit and active," the article said.
The downside was that pet owners sometimes felt anxiety about meeting their pets' needs during the pandemic. "Sixty-eight percent of pet owners reported having been worried about their animals during lockdown," the Daily said. Pet owners feared not being able to access a veterinarian, providing pets with enough exercise, or knowing who would care for their pets if they themselves fell ill during the pandemic.
"This work is particularly important at the current time as it indicates how having a companion animal in your home can buffer against some of the psychological stress associated with lockdown. However, it is important that everyone appreciates their pet's needs, too, as our other work shows failing to meet these can have a detrimental effect for both people and their pets," Dr. Daniel Mills, School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, said.
"While our study showed that having a pet may mitigate some of the detrimental psychological effects of the COVID-19 lockdown, it is important to understand that this finding . . . does not warrant any suggestion that people should acquire pets to protect their mental health during the pandemic," Dr. Elena Ratschen, Department of Health Sciences, University of York, said.
Other independent studies have indicated that humans receive health benefits from owning pets. Owners walk dogs, which increases exercise levels. Pets provide companionship, reduce their owners' anxiety, add structure and routine to a day, and provide sensory stress relief when owners pet their animals, HelpGuide, a nonprofit website providing evidence-based information, said.
Here's the bottom line. Adopt a pet to be a happier, healthier person. The lifetime bond between a pet and its owner fosters much love and develops an everlasting friendship.






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