Benefits Of Pet Ownership Essay

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“I think I could turn and live with the animals. They are so placid and self-contained,'; writes American poet Walt Whitman (Schellenberg 1). Yes, pets have been part of human culture throughout history, and in American households, they are more common than children. It is reported that 58% of U.S. households have at least one pet, whereas only 35% have children (Whitaker; Witherell 76). Owners spend billions of dollars each year on pet food, accessories, and veterinary care, but apparently pets give back, too (Schellenberg 1). Medical studies show that pet companionship offers concrete health benefits (Simross 14). While only in the past few decades have scientists become interested in the benefits of pets on human health…show more content…
A recent study at UCLA found that 37% of Medicare patients who owned pets visited their doctor less frequently and seemed to tolerate stressful events better (Whitaker). These are only the physical benefits.
“Being with animals. . .is just good for our hearts and souls. We . . .know that animals can lower blood pressure and help us live longer. But there is a whole other spiritual level there,'; writes Susan McElroy, author of Animals as Teachers and Healers (Simross 15). The psychological benefits include reduced mental distress, a sense of security, lower rates of depression, and higher morale (Schellenberg 2). Serving as an effective stress reducer, “stroking an animal is calming,'; says UCLA psychologist Dr. Judith Siegel (Witherell 77). Patients who watched a fish tank before going into surgery did as well as those who underwent hypnosis to reduce anxiety and discomfort (Schellenberg 2). The benefits are obvious no matter if the animal has four legs, wings, fins, or even scales.
Why such beneficial effects? “Ironically, the most common reason people give for not having pets-having to care for them-is one of the reasons pets improve health. Pets require that you ‘extend’ yourself when you normally wouldn’t, and for people who are ill or just want better health, pets turn them into ‘care
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