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Wed, Feb. 19

Research reveals people receive health benefits from owning a pet

Having a pet can bring much joy into the lives of responsible pet owners. Pets offer unconditional love that can enhance the physical and mental well-being of those who share their lives with them. For example, research has shown that pet owners generally have lower blood pressure than those without an animal companion. Other scientific studies have concluded that people with pets have a lower incidence of depression as well as reduced levels of anxiety. The surprising results of one study by the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta found that having a pet in the home can reduce the likelihood that children will develop allergies. This study followed 474 children from birth to age seven. Certainly, there are many examples of people who do develop allergies upon the introduction of a pet to the household. However, this study seems to suggest that young children can develop resistance to certain animal induced allergies when they are exposed to pets at an early age.

Anyway, one thing seems to be certain - having a pet can bring you and your family much happiness!

The benefits of having a pet are not limited to any one demographic group.

For many seniors, a devoted pet is often their sole companion. The pet helps them cope with loneliness, brings them a sense of worth and a feeling of being needed. Their pet is another living being dependent upon them for basic necessities and loving attention. In return, the pet provides unconditional love and companionship.

A child can learn valuable life lessons from a close association with a pet. Compassion, responsibility, and commitment are just a few of the virtues that can be enhanced by including a pet in a child's life.

Adults too reap the benefits of animal companionship depending on individual circumstances. Pets are wonderful listeners, but will never offer criticism no matter how well-intentioned. Insofar as dogs are concerned, they usually provide an enthusiastic welcome whenever you return home. And, although they may be disappointed if you're late, they will never chastise you. Sometimes, however, they may express their displeasure in other ways. Cats will occasionally give you the cold shoulder if they perceive some actual or imagined wrong, while dogs may express their irritation by destroying some of your favorite things. Fortunately, most undesirable pet behavior can be corrected with some training and TLC.

You will have an excellent opportunity to enrich your life by adding a pet to your household this coming weekend at the Adopt-A-Thon at the Prescott PetSmart store Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We will have dogs and puppies outside the store, and the cats and kittens will be inside. In addition to the Yavapai Humane Society, Miss Kitty's Cat House, United Animal Friends, Golden Retriever Rescue and Greyhound Rescue will be participating. So, come on out. We'll even buy you a hotdog and a soda to add to your enjoyment of this event. On Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. KQST FM will enliven things with an onsite live remote broadcast. We thank the Doggie Dude Ranch, Circle L Animal Hospital, and Midas of Prescott Valley for sponsoring this added attraction.

Let's make it a win-win situation for you and the animals available for adoption. They deserve a second chance for a loving, lifetime home, and you and your family can experience the joys a devoted pet can bring to your lives.

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