A Two Way Street

It’s not just because I am a veterinarian that I think pets are the most wonderful things we can have in our lives. My entire family moved 800 miles away and left me and my dog, Rudy, to take care of everything. What an unexpected turn of events. To be honest, at first, I was afraid to be alone where I had never lived alone. Rudy has surprised me and has been my faithful companion through it all. He has been quiet, but when needed, shows me he will not let anything or anyone hurt me – at least not without a fight from him. Feeling more safe is just one lovely thing a pet can bring us.

Studies have confirmed the benefits of pets. But all pet owners have always known this. Pets are more than just ‘dogs’ and ‘cats’ and whatever else is called ‘pet’ in your home. I have friends who lost spouses and their pets are their company, their happiness, their depression cure, and more. They talk to their pets, share meals (and don’t tell their veterinarians), watch TV with them, sleep with them, play with them, and many other activities.

Studies show that pets lower blood pressure, pet owners live longer, are happier, experience less depression, and heal faster when ill. To love a pet is not only to be healthier and happier, it is to have a pet that loves us too. Cat owners have 30% reduction in heart attacks. Pets normalize brain chemistry. This is why they are used for those struggling with post traumatic stress, autism, courtroom activities, and drug addiction. Having a pet to take care of helps with depression and a loss of meaning in life. It gives us something to look forward to. Interacting with a pet helps the brain and emotions better and faster than any medication. Anxiety and depression and stress are less – even in those that still choose unhealthy habits such as smoking or high fat diets.

Now, I take Rudy to work with me every day. When off a few days ago, I left him at home while I attended a camera class. When I arrived back home, one would have thought I was gone for 6 years instead of 6 hours. He jumped and played and was so happy to see me. The next morning, while getting ready for work, Rudy sat by the door near his harness – making certain he was not left at home. He never did this before.

Pets are living beings to have contact and interaction with that want to and have time for us. We truly rescue each other. So, we give thanks to the pets that bless our lives with happiness, love, and companionship.

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