I Woof You: Why Dogs And Pets Have Positive Effects On People

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It was after 11 o’clock on a Saturday night when she finally stepped foot into her best friend’s apartment. With makeup plastered on her face, heels in hand and the look of fatigue on her face, she was ready to sleep until the end of the weekend, maybe even longer.

Crystal, your typical cute petite blonde, was crashing at her friend Alissa’s apartment that night. But, she felt she wasn’t alone.

As she walked through the doorway, she felt an eerie presence. Then she heard breathing. And then footsteps running toward her. She frantically pulled out her phone and dialed 911.

As her finger was about to press the button to call, she stopped and froze as she saw a figure in the doorway.

The cutest Yorkshire she had ever seen in her life came running to her and started licking her face with happiness. She didn’t know Alissa had a dog! She felt so stupid, but so happy to have a little furry friend to cuddle with as she slept at her friend’s apartment that night.

Crystal is not the only one to feel this type of happiness. Pets, more specifically dogs, are very well known to have positive effects on the mental and physical health of people all over the world. This is why “an estimated 68% of U.S. households have a pet,” according to the NIH monthly newsletter.

According to the CDC, Center for Disease and Control and Prevention, “regular walking or playing with pets interaction can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels.” Physical interaction with their pet is a fun way for owners and their little animals to get exercise. All they have to do is run around playfully, and they’ve already worked up a sweat.

regular walking or playing with pets interaction can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels.”

— Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Having a pet requires giving attention to another being. Pets are like children, they need to feel loved and have fun, and when their owners get up off the couch to go play fetch with them, they are not only having fun, but working their body to become a better version of itself.

According to Pet Health Pharmacy, “Pets give their owner a sense of responsibility.” A pet’s basic needs are being fed, washed and walked, depending on the pet, and if the owner does not complete these tasks, it will take a toll on the pet’s health. Therefore the owner is forced to take responsibility and learn to care for another living being. This responsibility will be subconsciously reflected in personal relationships with family and friends, making them more caring and compassionate.

According to the Help Guide website, “Pets have evolved to become acutely attuned to humans and our behavior and emotions. Dogs, for example, are able to understand many of the words we use, but they’re even better at interpreting our tone of voice, body language, and gestures.” This is very true. Did you think the “a dog is a man’s best friend” expression was a joke?

There are even therapy and service dogs that serve as a source of comfort and companionship to the mentally ill or people in need of a friend. “They’re sometimes brought into hospitals or nursing homes to help reduce patients’ stress and anxiety,” once again according to the NIH monthly newsletter. Although there are specific dogs for this, anyone can have a dog or other type of domestic animal even if they aren’t lonely, simply for the pleasure of it.

Crystal was so grateful to have the adorable Yorkie with her that night. She was all alone in that apartment, and she was sure she would have been way more scared if she didn’t have the company of Alissa’s precious dog. Crystal remembers thinking; “I am DEFINITELY getting a pet…”.