Most pet parents are aware that their pets are far more than just companions who share a residence and various domestic experiences during waking hours.
This applies to of many more animals than just the two most common pets people think of, cats and dogs since others also become tremendously attached to their horses, their bird friends, or even a pet pig. We love to shower our pets with gifts and accessories, and quite often they give back even more.
The common thread in the relationship between humans and animals is a friendship which can be highly therapeutic, and impart emotional or physical healing in cases where someone has suffered one of the other kinds of personal damage. It's no exaggeration to say that very often our “best friend” pets can also be our healers.
Some dogs have demonstrated an uncanny ability to somehow “sniff” cancer, diabetes, and epilepsy in humans, sometimes even before any of these have been diagnosed, and others have alerted their people to impending seizures before the actual event. There are also well-documented cases in which service dogs have prevented accidents and have saved their humans from harm, and even though this is part of their training, it still serves to cement the bond between dog and man.
Some prisons have implemented programs where inmates have the opportunity to groom and train dogs in monitored settings, as a means of educating them about the value of becoming more compassionate toward other living creatures. At the same time, the relationship helps the incarcerated individuals manage their emotional issues regarding imprisonment, and provides a ray of hope in a somewhat darkened environment.
The mere act of extending yourself to care for an animal is therapeutic, and it often brings out the best in a pet parent. When you pet a dog, or stroke a cat's fur, it is, of course, pleasant for them, but it's also soothing to mind and body for humans too. Some studies have clearly demonstrated that pet owners tend to live longer, enjoy better health, and recover from disease faster than non-owners. Because we cease to focus on ourselves and instead concentrate on loving and caring for another creature, spectacular effects are achieved - for instance, the lowering of blood pressure, reduction of stress, and yes - physical healing from disease or sickness.
Some animals are better suited to domestication of course, and are more capable of becoming good companions for humans, but the truth is that almost any animal can help us to become better versions of ourselves. Because they elicit caring and tenderness from their people, virtually any pet can influence an individual in a very positive way that touches the best emotions inside us all - caring for another creature, forgetting yourself, and feeling love for another living creature.
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