|Digital art background by by Hollie Haradon a.k.a Holliewood Studios and Create Wings Designs;
Animals from Cowboy Up Digital kit by Scrap Girls, LLC
“Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.” ~ John Muir
In our home we refer to our cat Bandito and our dog Shanti as fur-kids. Even though I am very accustomed to including animals as part of the family I sometimes still look at them and think it is rather amazing that we have animals living with us and sometimes even sleeping with us. The love and loyalty they give to us two-legged, non-furry family members is a really beautiful thing.
Frequently I marvel at the furry, feathery, leathery and scaly creatures that share planet earth with us. When I look into the eyes of an animal I see within a being with a soul who is as alive as you and I.
Over the years research has proven that our relationships with animals benefit us in many ways.
- Interacting with animals can improve your mood. Whether you prefer dogs, cats, horses or guinea pigs, research supports the mood-enhancing benefits of having a relationship with an animal. Studies have shown that people were less likely to suffer from depression if lived with an animal.
- Relationships with animals control blood pressure better than drugs. While ACE inhibiting drugs can generally reduce blood pressure, they aren’t as effective on controlling spikes in blood pressure due to stress and tension. However, a study of hypertensive New York stockbrokers who lived with dogs or cats, were found to have lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who didn’t.
- Relationships with animals stave off loneliness and provide unconditional love. Animals offer love and companionship. They are at times the best antidote to loneliness. Nursing home residents reported less loneliness when visited by dogs than when they spent time with other people. Reducing feelings of social isolation and lack of social support also helps to decrease stress.
- Time spent with animals can reduce stress. Research has shown that when conducting a task that’s stressful, people actually experienced less stress when their pets were with them, than when a supportive friend or even their spouse was present.
It was during World War II that the idea of “therapy” animals was born. A tiny Yorkshire Terrier was found in a fox hole in New Guinea. In a round about way the dog found her way to Corporal Bill Wynne, who named her Smoky. Smoky spent the next 18 months by Wynne’s side in combat. Smoky participated in 12 combat missions and was awarded eight battle stars. When Wynne became ill and was hospitalized his friends brought Smoky to the hospital to visit him. Dr. Charles Mayo (of Mayo Clinic fame) noticed the little dog and took a liking to her. He observed that the wounded soldiers’ spirits were lifted when Smoky was around. He allowed Smoky to visit recuperating soldiers and even sleep with Wynne in the hospital. Smoky continued to visit hospitals for the next 12 years.
|Mo and Otis, therapy dogs in Redding, California.|
According to Wikipedia “The establishment of a systematic approach to the use of therapy dogs is attributed to Elaine Smith, an American who worked as a registered nurse for a time in England. Smith noticed how well patients responded to visits by a certain chaplain and his canine companion, a Golden Retriever. Upon returning to the United States in 1976, Smith started a program for training dogs to visit institutions. Over the years other health care professionals have noticed and documented the therapeutic effect of animal companionship, such as relieving stress, lowering blood pressure, and raising spirits. In recent years, therapy dogs have been enlisted to help children overcome speech and emotional disorders.”
Has your life benefited from relationships with animals?
Are there fur-kids in your family?
Do you have a special story about an animal that you would like to share?
Any photos that you would like to post?
Enjoy this entertaining video of the very talented Christine Kane performing a funny song called Four Legs Good Two Legs Bad