OPINION: Pets benefit well-being of their owners

By Adam Robles and Cher Antido
Staff Writers

Having a pet can boost people’s well-being, especially those who suffer from mental health issues such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
Taking proper care of a pet that requires a lot of attention and dedication can benefit both the animal and its owner.

CN/ Julie Santiago

According to an article by HelpGuide, a mental health and wellness website, dogs and cats can be a good pet for all ages.
Dogs can help people lose weight, stay active, and can also help children who have autism and the elderly who suffer from amnesia-like symptoms.
Those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease are often found to be less stressed if a pet is at home.
WebMD posted a quote by Dr. Lynette Hard, a professor at University of California, Davis, revealing that Alzheimer’s patients have less anxiety outbursts in the presence of a pet.
“Their caregivers also feel less burdened when there is a pet, particularly if it is a cat, which generally requires less care than a dog,” Hart said.
Dogs, especially, can spark quite the experience into anyone’s life. They are some of the hardest pets to take care of due to the attention they require.
They require the most time and patience, so it’s almost like having a child. The owner would have to teach this living creature to not be the wild creature that they naturally are.
Before doing so, however, the owner should see if taking care of an animal that requires so much energy is something they’re ready for.
For those hestitating, it would be best to start off with something easier like a fish, a hamster or a turtle. These are pets that also need a certain amount of care, but not nearly as much as the bigger animals.
These smaller-maintenance pets will teach pet owners how willing they are to manage them and how responsible they can be.
When the owner has come to terms with wanting to pursue the challenge of a bigger pet, they can do so by visiting shelters to adopt homeless pets or spend a few hundred bucks to have one bred for them.
When becoming the owner of a bigger animal, adoption is the best route to take because it’s much cheaper, and will save that animal from being euthanized.
It’s best to visit a few shelters and make sure there is a mutual connection before taking home a new animal.
For the owner, welcoming the pet to their new home will be a very anxiety-filled experience with lots of patience required and trial and error.
Depending on how untamed the animal is, they may begin to tear up furniture or dispose of their waste in undesired places.
Tackling the goal of raising what can be referred to as a child can take a lot out of any individual, but it’s often worth the struggle.
This experience is a journey like no other that can help people grow by raising their problem solving skills, social interactions and physical activity.
The journal “Applied Developmental Science” shows a 2014 study that pet owners had more community involvement.
Animals can very easily increase problem solving skills and one’s overall awareness because the owner has to constantly be on the lookout for messes the pet may cause.
This instinct to stop these tragedies from occurring can strengthen and teach owners basic parenting skills before they have their first child.
With a dog, the owner is faced with the task of having to walk the dog for a few hours a day. This may be quite the dramatic shift if they previously spent most of their time indoors.
A 2017 study exploring the human-animal bond, published in the “Gerontologist” journal, showed that adults who walk their dogs experience fewer doctor visits, more exercise and an overall improvement in health.
Dog-walking also brings in the opportunity to meet other people who have dogs and can make the pet owner improve social interaction skills in the real world.
Although taking care of living animals costs money, time and patience, the benefits they give make it worth the struggle.

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