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Our Pets Deserve to Celebrate The Month of Love Too

They give without asking anything in return.  They are there for us in good times and bad. 


They ask no questions and are happy when we give them any of our attention.  From them, we can learn how to live in the present and love unconditionally, just as they do. 


They are our best friends, and we love them, our pets. 


What better time than the month of February to give them a little extra attention with “National Love Your Pet Day” on the 20th.  Here are some extra health reasons to love the pets in your life or consider welcoming one.


Animals and ADHD


A study was performed by University of California – Irvine.  It showed that spending time with animals helped children with ADHD improve in several areas that are challenges for them.


The study took place over a period of 12 weeks in which the children read to a dog for 30 minutes each day.


What they found was that the children’s inattention was reduced, and their socializing skills improved.  They also had fewer behavioral issues as they were able to function with more calm and focus.


Animals and Autism


Who would think a little ball of fluff guinea pig would have a considerable effect on children living in the world of Autism.


A study headed by Marguerite E. O’Haire showed just that.


Children with Autism had supervised time with guinea pigs for 10 minutes a day.  What the parents and teachers of these children noticed was improvement in a couple of areas.


The children in the study showed reduced signs of anxiety.  With that reduction, they experienced improvements in their social interactions, engaging more with their classmates throughout the day.


People with Pets Live Longer


You read that correctly.  Pet owners have a decrease of 24% in mortality rate.


Dogs are at the top of the list for creating said decrease.  That may be due to increased activity of the owner through walks and playtime.


The increase in overall activity can improve blood pressure and help the body lower cholesterol and triglycerides.  That means better heart health.


They Bring Out the Love in Us


It looks like loving on our pets brings out the love in us.  More specifically, it increases our level of oxytocin, the “love” hormone.


A study was performed, of course, with dogs.  The researchers are still unable to explain how, but petting dogs increases our oxytocin level, leaving us in a positive mood.


It also turns out that receiving cuddles from their owners increased the oxytocin levels in the dogs, too.  We wouldn’t want this love fest to be all one-sided.


How to Bring a Pet into Your Life


Though dogs and cats get much of the attention when talking about loving our pets, there are many options out there.


The first thing is to decide what pet is the right one for you.  Fur, feathers, scales; there is a pet to love for every one of us.


Do a little soul-searching and decide who you are.  Are you energetic liking to go for walks?  Do you prefer a more chill life of observation?  Maybe you like the idea of interaction but not so much with the touchy-feely.


Here is the link to an article by Holland Lake Animal Hospital.  It asks questions that can help you decide on the perfect pet for you to love.  Click on:  10 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Choose the Perfect Pet


Where to Go for Your New Friend


You’ve decided on the perfect pet to love.  Now, where do you go to get them?


That will be determined by what type of pet you have chosen.  There are big box stores, small pet shops, breeders, animal shelters, adoption groups, and private adoptions.


Take your time with this step.  Interview the people and have a good look around the places you are considering getting your pet. 


You want your pet around for a long time to love.  Make sure they are coming from a reputable, clean, and caring place. 


If you have any concerns about the type of animal or where to get them, contact a veterinarian near you.  They can help you make healthy decisions for you and your new friend.


Ready for the Benefits, But Not a Full-Time Pet


There are many reasons that you may not be ready to welcome a pet to love into your current life full-time.  That doesn’t mean you have to forgo the benefits of being around them.


One option is offering to pet-sit for friends or family.  This gives you the benefit of giving love to a pet you already know without a full-time commitment.


You might consider being a pet foster.  Many rescue groups are looking for fosters to take in adoptable pets.


Fosters live with an animal short term.  They take the time to get to know the animal and what their needs are. 


Fosters provide general care.  They also sometimes provide specialized care for animals recovering from surgeries, illnesses, or trauma.


While providing a temporary home, fosters work with a rescue group or animal shelter.  The focus is to find the right forever home for that pet to receive all the love they deserve. 


A small warning:  sometimes, the foster is a “fail”.  That sounds worse than it is.  A foster “fail” is when the animal and human really hit it off. 


When that happens, the animal may be adopted by the foster. They may then become a valuable member of the foster team.  They can give back by helping other animals make the transition to a new, happy life, too.


Really Can’t Have a Pet in My Home


If having a pet in your home is just out of the question right now, there is another option.  Animal shelters are always in need of volunteers.


Volunteers help with the care of the facility and animals being housed there.  Some duties may include providing exercise and socialization for the animals waiting for adoption.


For more information on volunteering, you will want to contact your local shelter.


Get Ready to Celebrate


It doesn’t matter what type of animal you welcome into your life, what level you choose to participate, or what benefit you want to get.  You can celebrate National Love Your Pet Day on February 20th by sharing some love with a critter who will happily give as much as they are getting. 


We’d love to know about the pets you love!  Go ahead and celebrate them by sharing a story or a photo in the comments.

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