Thursday, March 31, 2005

Benefits of Companion Animals

If you don't have good health insurance coverage, adopt a homeless animal from your local shelter.

Dr. Andrew Weil's daily tip advises:

If you're a pet owner, you won't find it surprising that pets can instill a sense of well-being in people. Studies have shown that pet owners, particularly the elderly, have lower blood pressure, are less likely to be depressed and have higher self-esteem than people who don't have pets. Among the more tangible rewards: A 1999 study in New York, Missouri and Texas found that medication costs dropped in nursing homes that allowed pets. In another study, 70 percent of the families surveyed reported an increase in happiness and fun as a result of acquiring a pet. In 2000, the American Heart Association's study of stockbrokers found that those who had the companionship of a dog or cat experienced a calming of the "stress response" that can contribute to high blood pressure. After learning the results of the study, many of the pet-less stockbrokers decided to invest in a pet of their own.

Even if you have good health insurance, the benefits of living with a four-footed-fur-ball, are immeasurable. When I become stressed about what the Bushites have done to our country and the rest of the world, I bury my face in a furry body and give it a brisk cheek rub. This distraction always elevates my mood. Other times, I "wash that man right out of my hair" with Bush soap.