Calming Companions

How pets improve the overall health of many teen students.

March 28, 2021

       Pets are often brought into people’s lives for a variety of reasons. One may be lonely, depressed or stressed and just need a companion that will uplift one’s spirits. Having a pet is an amazing way to improve one’s mental health and bring some joy into one’s life. Pets give one something to look forward to every day when one comes home and is a reason to get active. Regardless if one has a dog, cat, bird or hamster all pets help to relieve the stress that can be brought on by the world around us.

      “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, author of “Marley and Me”, said.

        Pets such as dogs and cats can be used as emotional support animals. Those suffering from depression, anxiety, stress and ADHD could use them as companions during hard times and crises. Most dog and cat owners talk to one’s pets, some even use them to work through one’s  troubles. Pets have evolved to become acutely attuned to humans and our behavior and emotions. Dogs, for example, can understand many of the words we use, but they are even better at interpreting our tone of voice, body language and gestures. Cats are also a great example of a pet that uses body language to help its owner relieve stress. Stroking a cat, or other animals can lower blood pressure and help one quickly feel calmer and less stressed. Caring for a live animal can help make one feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from one’s problems, especially if one feels alone. The companionship of an animal can offer comfort, help ease anxiety and build self-confidence for people anxious about going out into the world. 

      “I want a dog because they are supposed to lower your stress levels and raise endorphins. They are also a test run at having a child,” freshman Katia Gil expressed.

        Along with pets being emotional support animals, pets also teach students organizational skills and responsibility. Most pets require feeding and exercise schedules, which can result in a routine. Having a consistent routine keeps an animal balanced and calm. A pet can also help one to take a break from work and put one’s attention towards something more valuable. Prioritizing important events throughout one’s day will lead to a happy pet and an even greater lifestyle. 

       “Pets are humanizing. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve and nurture and care for all life,” James Cromwell, actor in “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, stated.

        In addition to pets improving the mental health of students, they also improve one’s physical health. Pets get pet owners up and active through playtime and exercise. For example, taking one’s dog on a run or hike is a great way to fit some physical activity into one’s daily routine. Activities such as running, hiking, swimming, and walking are great ways to reward one’s pet, while also rewarding oneself. Studies have shown that pet-owners are 34 percent more likely to engage in daily physical activities than people that do not own a pet. It will deepen the connection between pets and pet owners, eradicate most behavior problems in dogs and keep one’s pet fit and healthy.    

   “Before I had a dog, I barely went outside. Now that I have a dog, I go on walks and play with him in my backyard,”  sophomore Jordan Smith stated.

 

    If one seems to be struggling with mental or physical health, getting a pet may be something to consider. Pets are great companions that give back to one as one cares for them

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