Pets are stress-relievers and endorphin-boosters at home, in the office, and in the hospital.
Animals get humans to laugh, talk, and to take care of them. Not only does this benefit the pet, but it also poses significant emotional value for people's health.
A pet's funny antics make us smile and laugh, thereby reducing stress. Smiling alone increases happiness, so it's no wonder that a dog trying to play fetch with a "cone of shame" results in smiles and positivity.
People are also likely to chat with animals, which is beneficial to those living alone as well as for withdrawn individuals. Even taking a stroll with a pet results in conversation with strangers. Communication leads to socialization which implicates general merriment.
Caring for a pet gives us responsibilities, and feeling a purpose in life can boost anyone's level of contentment. Petting an animal releases oxytocin, a pleasure-inducing hormone. Fear levels and inflammation drop when you're busy petting an animal, allowing your body to focus on healing.
Dogs, cats, and horses are traditionally used as therapy animals to increase happiness levels in hospitals, from mentally unstable to clinically ill patients. But unconventional creatures can also improve a human's overall well-being, be they a trained therapy visitor or stay-at-home pet.
Even llamas and alpacas get those endorphins pumping. Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas discovered this when founders Lori and Shannon Gregory bought a baby llama, known for their tender nature, and ended up filing for him to become a therapy animal based on the enthusiastic response he received. Now, the ungulate has made over 1,000 visits to people in need.
These alternative livestock, hailing from Brush Prairie, Washington, have upped the pleasure mode for depressed patients and relaxed worrisome individuals. They even encouraged a mute patient to speak again.
Patient-pet interaction involves more than just petting. Playtime is included in the therapy visits, and patients are allowed to offer treats to the animals to strengthen the bond.
The success of prison foster programs offers additional evidence that animals have a positive impact on humans.
Whether you sign your companion up to be an emotional support animal or simply enjoy his or her company in the comfort of your home, you're sure to reap the benefits of having a pet around.
Science has proven pets make us happier. But we didn't really need data to tell us that, did we?