You want to have a better life? You want to want to live longer and cut your risks of heart disease? Get a pet?
That's no joke. According to the American Heart Association, owning a pet is linked with a lower risk of heart disease and better levels of cholesterol, blood pressure and weight.
There's a reason 78 million people in the U.S. own a dog and about 87 million own a cat. Loyalty, love, and just taking care of a living thing makes you happier, and more eager to fulfill the many tasks that are associated with living. The AHA research on pet ownership also shows that the love and loyalty pets show their owners pays big life dividends. They can increase our self esteem and feelings of self-worth, as well as reduce stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness.
These are good advantages to have in today's world, which -- wracked by several years of economic instability -- have seen increases in joblessness, welfare assistance and work disability. With these challenges in our lives, pets have proven to be an asset in our efforts to avoid serious illness.
And the benefits extend beyond adults. studies have shown that children benefit by having a pet that can love and be loved, and be played with. In fact, a study from the University of California claims that kids exposed to a pet the first year of their life are less likely to develop, asthma, eczema and allergies as adults.
At Ogden Regional Medical Center, pet therapy is used, where animals visit patients and families to increase their well-being, relax them and lift spirits.
There's another reason to consider a pet. Many animals, including cats and dogs, die well before they should because they don't have homes to go to. The Weber County Animal Shelter offers pet adoptions. Call (801) 778-6440 for more information.