The animal-human bond is a very powerful force to be reckoned with. The connection is so deep that it feels almost spiritual or a sort of magic. Most of us, at one time or another, have experienced a deep connection to a family pet. Animals are just as easy to talk to, and although they cannot speak our language, they seem to understand us.
Studies have proven time and time again that being in contact with a pet can increase a person’s lifespan. If you have ever wondered why some service dogs or therapy dogs wear bandanas, it is because petting them can dramatically lower a person’s blood pressure. If they are wearing bulky service animal vests, people will not reap the same health benefits because strangely enough a person has to be in contact with the animal’s fur in order to gain any health benefits.
Just having a relationship with companion animals can help people live a longer, healthier life; little wonder losing a beloved pet can have a disastrous effect on the owner’s health. It is for this reason that many veterinarians will recommend that people who have lost their only pet take in another animal to love and care for. An alarming number of elderly people die shortly after the passing of their beloved pet. Sadly, the heartbreak can be too much considering pets are a central aspect of our daily lives.
The majority of dog owners admit to there being emotional ties between their pets and members of their family – a animal-human bond.
I am one of those. I like dogs. Dogs are cool in so many ways. Now, if you are not a dog owner, you may think a pet is just a piece of property something you own, a possession.
Let me see if I can dispel that notion and explain why they are so much more.
Animals As Healers
Who has not heard the reports of dogs being taken to hospitals, senior citizen centers, and even prisons, in order to uplift the spirits of those confined there?
Often spending just a few minutes petting and talking to the dogs give these people a reason to smile and focus on something other than their problems.
Dogs have been used to break through to Alzheimer’s patients. Some therapists report that patients who have mentally withdrawn from society after suffering a great emotional trauma have made progress when they spend time with a therapy dog.
Many of these patients are children.
One hospital study revealed that when extreme hypertension patients have discussions with other people their blood pressure numbers almost always go up.
On the other hand, if a therapy dog is brought for a visit, those figures will almost always drop.
What causes this?
The reason is people talk to a dog more slowly and softly, speech characteristics correlated with lower blood pressure.
The mere act of stroking and petting a dog lowers the patient’s level of anxiety and therefore reduces the heart rate and blood pressure. No wonder patients with heart disease often live longer if they have a loving dog at home. Just another indication of the strong animal-human bond, and another reason I like dogs. Dogs are cool in other ways, too.
There have been studies that show a dog owner is better able to cope with a major crisis like the death of a family, a major illness, a divorce, or a job loss. Why? Dogs are a source of comfort and are viewed as a good friend. A dog can be hugged. A dog will not judge you or turn their back on you.
A dog also gives people (especially those without children) a reason to go on living, because the dog makes them feel needed and appreciated.
Despite their loss, these folks feel a sense of responsibility to continue to be there for their pet, and this focus will often give them the time and focus they need to go through the grieving process.
There have been surveys that also indicate that dog owners feel more satisfied in life, enjoy more self-esteem and feeling of general well-being. Other studies reveal that owning a dog actually helps family members be more understanding of each other.
That’s a lot of responsibility to put on our four-footed furry friends. No wonder people who own dogs recognize the almost spiritual nature of the animal-human bond.
The love and affection that animals bring into our homes should never be taken for granted. One time, when I lost my rottweiler to cancer, I felt devastated and nearly became sick. He was not man’s best friend; he was my best friend. We understood one another and shared a special bond that I hope everyone has experience. The animal-human bond.