We feed them, groom them and sometimes even dress them. We coddle them in a multitude of ways, taking great pains to make sure they are healthy and worry when they are not. When they pass on, the loss for many is as profound as any other. Perhaps we do so much for our pets because, according to a variety of sources, they do so much for us.
Naturally, you would expect the American Veterinary Medical Association, the nonprofit Delta Society – for the connection of humans and animals – and the Humane Society to extol the many benefits of having pets. But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta also gives the family dog, cat and or other pet a hearty endorsement.
The CDC notes on its Web site: "Pets can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, feelings of loneliness. Pets can increase your opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities, opportunities for socialization."
Benefits like those may explain why pet ownership has risen from 56% of American households in 1988 to 62%, or 71.4 million households, in 2008, according to the 2009/2010 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association.
A lot has been written in the last few decades about the benefits of having pets, but it seems there’s more to our relationship with them than many people realize.
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