Pets are good for the soul
By Phil Snyder, Executive Director Suncoast Humane Society
We know that the rewards of having a pet as a member of your family are countless. The unconditional love we receive from them is priceless. Not only can some of their playful actions immediately replace a bad mood with laughter, but studies show there are also plenty of physical and mental benefits to having a pet.
Adoption personnel at humane societies love to hear the many stories of how adopting a pet has helped to improve the quality of life for both the pet and the new owner(s). The human-animal bond is strong, and on occasion, a special connection can be even stronger.
Harold and Connie had been monitoring the adoptable animals on Suncoast Humane Society’s website for quite a while. They had lost their cherished poodle some time ago. When they spotted Max on the adoption page, they decided they had to find out more about this little dog.
Max, a 7-year-old miniature poodle, had been through a rough period and was suffering from dental disease. In fact, 11 of his teeth needed to be extracted by the medical team at Suncoast Humane Society. He had also been placed on a special diet because of kidney problems.
To quote Connie, “My husband Harold and Max bonded immediately.” Weeks after adopting Max, she reports, “Max is Harold’s shadow; Harold treats him like a human, not a dog. Max has definitely been a blessing for Harold, and we love him dearly.” You see, Harold suffers from early stages of dementia, and having Max has definitely made a difference in his life.
Mike and Joanne had also been looking to adopt a four-legged family member. They too had been checking Suncoast Humane Society’s website. One day they spotted Bella, a 3-year-old miniature Pinscher. They had lost their previous pet, also a Min Pin, to old age. Into the shelter they came, and of course immediately fell in love with Bella.
To describe this connection, Joanne summarizes, “They rescued each other. The bonding began the day Bella came home. Both are frightened by loud noises. We are not sure if Bella runs and hides in Mike’s arms when Joanne drops the pots and pans, or if Bella is just trying to protect Mike from the loud noise.” You see, Mike suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We do know that Bella spends her time sitting at Mike’s feet at the dinner table and sleeps pressed against him at night.
Time spent with pets can help lower cholesterol, triglycerides and even blood pressure. Statistics from the Department of Health show that 28 percent of pet owners who had suffered a serious heart attack survived, compared to only six percent of non-pet owners. Okay, have I scared you into adopting a pet?
Owning pets can help us relax, reduce anxiety and even help create a daily routine, including feeding them once or twice a day, grooming them, playing with them and taking them for walks. And think of the physical benefit of walking your pet and enjoying the beautiful Florida environment.
Above all, pets make wonderful companions. Make time today to appreciate your pet with a tender word or pat on the head. And, of course, if you are looking to add a pet to your family, please consider Suncoast Humane Society or another animal shelter or pet adoption agency. There are so many homeless animals just waiting for that special home. Are you ready to be loved?