The power of pets
March 5, 2012
by Jenni Sebora

I have read that over half of all households in the United States have a pet, whether it’s a dog, cat, bird, reptile, small mammal, or fish. My household is one of those. We have a 4-year-old dog named Hemi.

Hemi is a doodle or a doxie-poo, which is part mini poodle, part mini dachshund. We got Hemi from a local animal shelter after he was surrendered by an older woman who moved into different housing that did not allow pets. Unlike many animals that are in shelters, Hemi was very loved and cared for. We could tell.

Hemi is house-trained and very lovable. He was a companion to his previous female owner since he was a puppy. As a result, he took a special liking to me, the woman of the household. From the time we brought him into our home, which was about eight months ago, he has been “a woman’s best friend.”

Hemi follows me everywhere. I have a best friend and a shadow. If I get up to go to the bathroom, he will wait outside the door. If I get up during the night to get a drink of water, he is right behind me. As I type this article at my desk, he is lying under my chair.

Every time I get home from work, or wherever I may have been, he greets me at the door with open paws and a happy, wagging tail. I know I am loved by him unconditionally.

This is what pets do for us. They love us unconditionally. They provide us with relationships unique to pets. The presence of a pet in our lives can provide such great benefits. Love, affection, nurturance, companionship, ownership, responsibility, humor, and entertainment are some of those benefits.

Research has also shown that pets can lower blood pressure and provide other such health benefits. In fact, people who have pets are said to live longer, more satisfying lives.

Young and old alike, pets can add such enrichment to lives. Research studies show that older persons think that pets provide them with a feeling of being invaluable. In those senior years, people can lose their abilities to be as independent, yet pets can allow them to feel that they are needed, invaluable.

A pet does not discriminate. They love us because we love them, and it is simple as that. That is pretty amazing acceptance. If we are crabby or tired, they don’t care; they are always right there willing to cheer us up.

My husband, Marc, also has bonded greatly with our dog, Hemi. They have a special code. When my husband gets home, he bends over and puts his arms out, and the dog comes running for a belly rub. This connection has provided a stress reliever for my husband.

I will often find Marc holding the dog, petting the dog, or scratching him behind the ears. The same connection exists between my children and Hemi, but it is especially strong between our youngest, 8-year-old Delaney, and Hemi.

When she wakes in the morning, the first thing she does is finds Hemi to hold him, pet him, or even take him outside.

Pets are a responsibility, but anything worthwhile takes some work.

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