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The High Deserts Social Network Blog…

ANIMALS HELP AGED KEEP HEALTHY AND HAPPY

No matter how old we are, animals provide tremendous therapeutic value, both physically and psychologically. They help humans develop important life skills and connect with others in a safe, joyful way.

Pets have been known to help remedy all sorts of stress-related health problems. They help  lower blood pressure, minimize stress-induced aches and pains, enable more efficient recuperation from heart surgery, and can even slow down the damaging effects of diabetes. Interaction with pets can “boost people’s moods and enhance their social interaction,” according to an article on Pet Therapy on www.holisticonline.com.

I watched a program on cable several years ago that demonstrated how specially-trained working dogs were trained to constantly interrupt owners who were agoraphobic or depressed in order to force themselves out of their own problems. One man who could barely leave his home the year before was so improved he was able to start a new job, all because his Lab (as in Labrador Retriever) successfully connived him into daily walks and constant head butts for attention.

These same benefits are expanded in “The Benefits We Experience When Pets (Animals) Are Beside Us.” We develop more empathy and an outward focus, which helps prevent or cure depression. Nurturing skills, rapport, acceptance, and a developmentally-significant comfort with touch can all be learned by association with animals. Entertainment, socialization and mental stimulation are all additional  benefits of spending time with these furry friends. Even though I don’t currently have dogs of my own, I know that I always look forward to getting my “dog fix” when hiking certain trails on Sundays; those wagging tails and wet tongues can really make my day!

Which brings me to my inspiration for this week’s blog. Last night my partner and I watched the new movie, Secretariat, for the second night in a row. I highly recommend it. As I watched this inspirational animal (and his inspirational owner) with my own little cat snuggled next to me in the chair, my heart swelled with love and serenity. It’s strange how it sometimes takes an animal to make us truly understand what it means to be human.  The unconditional love and simplicity that animals restore in our souls can only make our lives more fulfilled and healthier at any age.

Tell us about your pets and their restorative influence on your life.

 

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February 4, 2011 Posted by | baby boomer information, healthy living, over 50, pet therapy, Successful Aging | , , , , | 1 Comment