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Reasons Why Keeping a Pet Can Promote Good Health

Only pet keepers know what a blessing pets can be. Pets are a source of endless joy and companionship, and at times, even amused exasperation. However, little do these people know that there are several, tiny changes happening in their life, all of which are being influenced by the presence of a furry/feathered/scaly mate.
"Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.
It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them."
- John Grogan, Marley & Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog
True-blue animal lovers firmly believe that pets are God's way of apologizing for the relatives they've got. This may seem a tad extreme to those who've never nurtured a pet, but trust me when I say from experience that there is a lot of truth to that statement.
For pet keepers, every grueling day spent outside in the super-crazy world culminates into a happy evening shared with the one and only creature that feels genuinely happy to have them home. All thanks to that godsend idea of domestication, which made it possible for us to share our lives with these angelic creatures.

Why angelic, you ask? Because the way their presence changes our lives is nothing short of a miracle, and what's more, our pets bring about these positive changes, without even being asked for. Now, honestly tell me if you know any human who becomes our true companion without even being asked for?

Reasons Why Keeping a Pet Makes Great Sense

You'll never be stressed
Some may think that I'm abusing the concept of exaggeration when I say that having a pet shift+deletes the stress out of your life. Yes, the stress doesn't even stay in your brain's recycle bin, and is pushed out for good.

Now, scientists have been spending mega bucks on understanding the logic behind how pets lower our stress levels. I guess they've never had their face slobbered with their dog's wet nose. I doubt if they've come home to a parakeet happily screeching a welcome song.
You see, happiness is pretty contagious, and our pets are so full of it, that they can't resist passing it over to us. Is it any wonder then, that pet-assisted therapy is gaining steady momentum all over the world?
Studies have shown that pet therapy has helped bring happiness to autistic children, along with those suffering from ADHD. The senior populace has also benefited from pet-assisted therapy.

So, whatever your troubles may be, petting your cat or dog, or even looking at your fish calmly swimming about lowers anxiety and lends you a sense of serenity.
You'll have a healthy heart
It is true that keeping a pet involves making certain lifestyle changes. For instance, you begin to avoid late working hours as you've got to rush home to walk the dog. You start going to bed early in anticipation of waking up at 6 am to answer the persistent howling of a hungry cat or a screaming lorikeet.

Slowly (and possibly against your will), you heave yourself onto a healthier lifestyle that is far more disciplined. Now, provided you supplement this with healthy eating, your metabolism gets that much required boost. The result? Your cholesterol and triglyceride levels may lower, which in turn, may also lower the risk of cardiac diseases.
No more fluctuations in blood pressure
Our anger, anxieties, mood swings, and pressures, along with all the unhealthy mess that we eat, create a combination so wonderfully lethal, that our blood pressure levels, quite literally, begin to fluctuate at will.
Since we believe these things to be beyond our control, any advise that involves meditation, dieting, or exercising is scoffed at, and we choose instead, to fall victim to the malady.

Pets, being pets, come into our lives with utmost concern for our well-being. And you know what? Their mere presence brings about a change in attitude among humans.
We pet them, snuggle up to them, even voice our troubles to them, and in return they pass on their calm demeanor and joie de vivre to us, helping us bid farewell to blood pressure troubles.
You will learn to b-r-e-a-t-h-e
Anti-pet people always think that pets trigger allergic reactions, and in many cases, they do. On further examination, however, it has been observed that the presence of a pet around a newborn can actually boost the level of immunity in the child by virtue of early exposure to various allergens.
Of course, the genetic makeup and other external conditions play a major role in the occurrence of illnesses, but the increased exposure to dust and allergens during infancy has its benefits.
Animals don't need a college education or a Nat Geo Channel to tell them that the perfect way to live is to live harmoniously, in sync with nature. Humans, on the other hand, need all of that, plus a few more "studies" to place their faith in this simple rule of nature.
You end up depressing depression
Have you ever wondered how the origin of every bout of sadness that we undergo, can be directly traced to a human action? We get depressed when things don't go our way, or find ourselves in a bad situation in life or at work, sinking deeper into a chasm created by loneliness.
If you happen to keep a pet, notice how cathartic your pet's presence can be in such seemingly hopeless situations. Simple activities like walking your pet, grooming him, or just having him around lowers the level of cortisol hormone, known to be associated with stress. These actions also trigger the production of the "feel-good" chemical, serotonin.
You begin to MOVE
Who makes you climb the farthest branch of the tallest tree on a "rescue mission"? Who makes droopy-cute eyes that coax you to go outdoors and play fetch for hours on end? Who makes you clean a tank full of not-so-dirty water, scrub it, disinfect it, and refill it every few days?

It is well-known that dogs make us exercise - they make us run, jump, walk, and indulge in various activities that basically reverse our sedentary lifestyle. One may think of cats as aloof and unfriendly, but cat keepers know that they are no less, and certainly enjoy burning a few calories (no, Garfield is not the universal epitome of all cats).
These cute little beasts have the power to tug at our heartstrings with one look, and we're up on our feet in a minute. What then is a workout, seems like a cakewalk, and ends up disturbing the substantial chunk of fat that we lovingly treasure inside our bodies.

Should we bow to them in reverence by now? I most certainly have.
You may live longer and happier
Now, with all the exercising, early starts, deep breathing, and a healthy heart, it's going to be really tough to die early, unless you try to act suicidal. Even that is a distant possibility, given the fact that you're sharing your life with this amazing companion who -
  • does not judge you
  • does not care if you're rich/poor/handsome/ugly
  • is always happy to see you
  • will never leave your side (unless you're really, really mean)

So you see, our pets not only contribute to stretching our lifespan, they also enrich the quality of our life with their presence.

Comedy Central Live!

A pet keeper, and only a pet keeper can identify with this point, and it is impossible for someone like yours truly (who humbly aspires to be a writer someday) to describe it in words. Regular followers of shows like America's Funniest Home Videos may have an inkling of what I'm trying to say, but for the rest, here's a small pictorial representation.
Now imagine these antics being played out throughout the day, for as long as you are together. Mind you, I haven't even included pets other than dogs and cats here. In fact, hamsters, pigs, even iguanas are notoriously comic creatures to have around.

You see,if left on our own,the only laughter we manage is when we smirk at our pitiful existence during introspection (that is,if we do it).Most mortals also search the Internet for Grumpy cat memes or some such things to get their daily dose of laughter.Having a furry or feathered mate ensures hilarity without an Internet connection, virtually free of cost.

You'll have a perfectly synchronized body clock

If you happen to have a pet cat or a dog, you're more or less certain to have a body clock that may rival that of a Maasai warrior. Sleeping "late" on a weekend means that you still rise up at 7 am, completely refreshed with say, an extra hour of snooze time.
Those without pets have no clue what I'm talking about, as they've never had a dog or a cat giving them these kinds of "feed-me-right-now" looks (as pictured below) which make the most hardened pet keeper jump out of bed.

Even those who keep relatively docile pets like frogs, rabbits, iguanas or hamsters, tend to be so attached to them, that the very idea of missing out on the pet's meal times gives them the shivers. The point of the matter is that once you have a pet, it remains constantly on your mind. This attitude synchronizes our body clock with that of our pet.

Unconditional Love

The vagaries of life usually hassle our best-laid plans in a flash. We covet certain jobs, only to be left drained and disillusioned by them, and begin to hunt for new ones. Friends help us socialize, make life's burdens a little lighter, but at times, our paths may fork. There is nothing in our life that we can be certain of, or rely on.

That was an exaggeration, of course. You see, when your heart is paved with paw prints or feathers or even scales, you find yourself in the quiet, steely, and devoted companionship of your one true friend. Someone who doesn't care who you are, but gives you his heart, with no questions asked, as long as you've given him yours. Simple terms?
Animal lovers don't really need any reasons telling them why keeping a pet promotes good health. Here's a little something for those who don't keep pets - we'll always have a job that feeds us. We'll always have medicines that cure everything that ails us. We'll always have family and friends, willing to support us. But an inner corner of your heart will always remain untouched until you have a pet to warm it up.

 Renuka Savant

alan King, Alvan Nee, Patrick Hendry