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Furry Friends: More Than Just Pets

February 29, 2016

If you happened to miss it, this past February 20th was Love Your Pet Day. Described as an ‘unofficial national holiday…to focus on the special relationship that you have with your pets,’ this extraordinary occasion is just another way that pet lovers can celebrate that exceptional furry, feathery or scaly companion in their lives. If you missed it, there are many other Pet Awareness Events for 2016 to honor our special friends, including National Pet Week in May.

If you are a pet-lover you don’t need to be convinced of the benefits of this special bond. But if you’re on the fence about which side you’re on, here are eight reasons why having a pet can brighten your days, and keep you healthy to boot:

Companionship

The bond between animal and human is part of our evolution, as research has proven with the discovery of 14,000-year-old pet dogs and 9,500-year-old pet cats found interred with humans. The feeling of friendship and togetherness is something everyone yearns for, and having a pet satisfies this basic need.

Unconditional Love

They are there waiting at the door when you get home. They always seem to sense when you need them most and are always willing to sit, cuddle and listen. Their love is uncomplicated. Pets give unconditional love and this is one of the most endearing qualities of having one. For people who suffer with depression, a constant presence providing comfort, security and consolation is not just a luxury, it can actually be life-saving.

Routine

When the kids have grown and you’re into the retirement stage, a little responsibility can add positive focus to your life. Not to mention, healthy habits have a positive effect on behavior and outlook. An animal’s natural routine (waking, walking and feeding habits) can help us stay on track. Sometimes it might feel easy to disregard our own needs, but when there is someone else to care for it gives us obligation and accountability.

Sense of Purpose

Making a commitment gives us a sense of purpose in life, and whether that relates to a relationship with another person or a pet, taking care of others and being loved are the best feelings in the world. Additionally, having a sense of purpose in life is linked to longevity.     

Less Stress

You can’t deny the stats that prove spending time with animals relieves stress. Pets can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduce anxiety, and boost serotonin and dopamine, the feel-good chemicals in the brain. How can you look at that furry face and not have the stress of your day melt away?

A More Active Lifestyle

Having a pet often means taking it for a walk or playing with it each day, which promotes a healthy lifestyle. In addition, being more active can lead to meeting new people, making new friends and finding new interests. Plus, pets encourage playfulness and laughter, which improves the immune system and increases energy levels.

Protection

A pet’s loyalty is one of their most endearing qualities. Quick-thinking pooches and resourceful kitties (among other animals) have been known to perform amazing life-saving acts, such as alert families to danger, save people from choking and drowning, as well as, detect cancer, predict seizures, and help warn diabetes patients about low blood sugar. From amazing rescue stories to day-to-day peace of mind, our four-legged pals provide comfort and security that always goes above and beyond the call of duty.

If you have never been a pet owner, it may not be wise to jump right in to it. There are many things to consider before getting a pet. Thankfully, there are many resources out there to help you. However, if the lifestyle fits for you, the rewards of having a pet can be priceless.

As for The Merion, pets are not only allowed, but very warmly welcomed at the senior rental community. “Why would we deny our residents the opportunity of bringing man’s or woman’s best friend into their new home?” said Margaret Gergen, director of leasing. “A treasured pet is an important family member and we love having them here.”

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