It IS raining cats and dogs at my house – well, at least raining CATS! During this month of Mother’s Day, I thought it important to acknowledge all of the “Fur Baby Moms” out there, as our pets are oftentimes our children. I did not have my first human child until I was 33 years old, so for many years I had my fur babies. I know for the last 24 years, EVERY Mother’s Day, even before I became a mother to a human child, I have received a card from my fur babies. Silly, yes, but for many years they WERE my children and even with human children of my own now, I still consider them my babies. Lest you think my cats have somehow learned to get themselves to the store to pick out the purr-fect card (sorry, couldn’t resist), and somehow mastered the art of SIGNING those cards with a paw print signature, I will give a little credit to their human “Fur Dad” to making those cards happen for 24 years. They ARE my children, and I love them!
A little about me. I am a cat-person. I love dogs, too, but having a lot of cats around – and I do mean A LOT – isn’t conducive to having dogs, but I love them and ALL animals, really. I think one day I could be happy living on a farm! I have three inside babies and have taken in a colony of feral cats that live outside who now call my place home. They all live outside and we were finally able to catch the last one to spay and neuter – but not until we had eight of them, as some had kittens before we could catch them. We have frequent visitors as well who just “drop in” and then go back to their homes. It’s kind of like a bed and breakfast here! At any given time, there are 10 “outsiders” who call this place home or are stopping in for a visit.
Of course being the health person that I am, I am thrilled to know what pets offer “health benefits” as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that pets can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and feelings of loneliness. There have been research studies showing that pet owners can, in addition to lower blood pressuring like the CDC suggests, also reduce stress while boosting the “good chemicals” in our brains. People with pets may feel less isolated, as having a pet can sometimes lead to more social interaction with others. This is especially true for dog-owners who have to get the dog outside where of course they may have opportunities to interact with other humans. Like the CDC says, pets offer companionship. You are never really alone when you have a pet. Trust me, I know this to be true. I cannot take a shower without one of my three THISCLOSE and right there with me in the bathroom.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) cites several studies on pets and health. One study examined 421 adults who had suffered heart attacks. Researchers found that dog owners were significantly more likely to still be alive than were those who did not own dogs one year later, regardless of the severity of the heart attack. Another research study examined 240 married couples. Those couples who owned a pet were found to have lower heart rates and blood pressure than those without pets. Pet owners seemed to have milder responses and quicker recovery from stress when they were with their pets than with a spouse or friend.
Pets can not only be our babies on this Mother’s Day, but they can be so good for our health. I for one am grateful to be the mom of all of my precious fur babies!
P.S. Oh, it IS raining DOGS at WSA Founder Karen Shayne’s house! Check out Karen and her sweet baby Marley. Happy Mother’s Day to Karen from her sweet baby!