Owning a pet plays a very important role in many of our lives. And nothing compares to the joy of coming home to a loyal companion, after a long day out.
Pets are known to relieve stress, improve heart conditions as well as support emotional and social attachments to children and adults. An estimate of 68% of the world’s household own a pet, ranging from fish to dogs, cats, hamsters or birds.
All animals registered to be pets are known as companion animals. These animals are prone to having a calming influence on their owners and people who surround themselves with the animals.
Pets can also be used tactically to create a better learning environment in classrooms. They facilitate healthy learning where students are capable of grasping knowledge with no stress attached. They also help in creative learning among students of various abilities. Most schools now incorporate the idea of having a pet in classrooms to help students cater their behavior into protecting them in times of crisis as well as positive learning. Exposing children at an early age to care for a pet, assists them to learn the art of being benevolent.
Psychotherapists also use animals in treatment rooms to have more productive sessions with anxious and stressed patients. The psychoanalytical theory suggests that animals are referred to as self-objects. It revolves around the movement of recognizing empathy as an essential aspect of a therapeutic process whilst addressing human development. Individuals pick up these reflective behaviors and channel it to the many accounts of mirroring.
But the positives don’t really stop here. Noted below are several positive health as well as mental effects that are noted below.
1. Improve your marriage
Yes, you read it right. Several studies have been conducted that revealed that married couples with pets felt more satisfied with their relationships than those who didn’t own one.
Newlyweds are able to gain insight into how their partner dealt with responsibility, illness, sharing, and jealousy. Pets are also known to reduce stress and avoid heated arguments between partners in a marriage encouraging a more social and loving environment around them.
2. Decrease Stress
In a study conducted by the University of New York, researchers have learned that when faced with a stressful task, individuals surrounded by their pets experience less amount stress than when surrounded by family members. Various Treatment Centres across the world also recommend patients bringing their pets along to help facilitate the rehabilitation on a positive note.
Pet create an environment to remove obstacles by reducing stress and working to create a more clearer and confident atmosphere.
3. Improves mood
People who have pets are less agitated and can make sound decisions at all times. During my school years, my dad bought us a hamster. And at first, we were taken aback due to the sudden decision but gradually over time, we learned about the unspoken benefits it had on all of us. My parents were less stressed when they got back from work, the atmosphere was lighter and we spent more time together being around Jery.
Jery was also my midnight friend during exam times and would run around my books making sure I wouldn’t fall asleep. He would wait with me, sometimes until 3 am before nestling to sleep into my book indicating that even I needed some.
And as small as he was, the effect Jery had on my life had a very positive and beneficial turnover.
Pets teach us to be responsible for them by watching over us when we least expect it. We learn to care for them during sickness and in health. They also teach us to deal with being vigilant.
My mum wasn’t a fan of pets but after Jery, things changed. Her behavior towards him changed as she became a lot attached to him. And he was obedient to her.
There were days when he would hide behind the refrigerator every time our house help came home and would scratch the back of the refrigerator to warn us about an “intruder”. It would only be after she’d come in and talk to him, would he feel safe and run out, doing his rightful duty.
The loyalty a hamster showed us took us a long way because it taught us about trust and the confidence he had that one of us would rescue him.
5. Help children develop
Apart from having a hamster, we also owned two Diamondback Terrapins(they are freshwater turtles that grow a millimeter or so every year). Before we had them, I didn’t even know about Terrapins or the existence. But their entry into our lives had us exposed to learn about different things. We also chose to explore the channels of knowledge that aren’t always explored.
Pets also help children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism. It helps them follow a predictable yet reliable routine of being less agitated.
6. Health Benefits
Apart from the emotional stability that these animals provide, pets are also known to identify and prevent many health hazards. They lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and heart attacks. Pets are also known to relieve depression by helping people feel a lot at ease.
Animals are also known to help students going through exam pressure, lessening its detrimental factors. I remember a time in Year 11 when our class of only 15 girls was going through a disturbing phase due to our mocks and due to the built up in pressure, it would harm the relationship between us. So one day, as usual, my dad suggested I take Jery to school. He even offered to drop and pick us up so Jery would feel safe and not uneasy in the bus.
As I walked through the doors with Jery in my hand, my classmates were perplexed. We all suddenly let go of our ego wars and worked together to keep Jery at ease and give him everything he needed. At the end of the day, all of us were refreshed and happy (we dissed a lot of our teachers, though). We then voted to have him come once a week to help us combat our problems but after a couple of weeks, we were doing fine. And as usual, Jery saved the day.
Pets teach us a lot of things in life, but most of all they teach us to be grateful for everything. They teach us to function better, emotionally and to understand the needs and feelings of others around us. They help us express feelings of sadness and loss during deaths and ways to overcome them.
They also teach you the art of being unconditionally accepted and provide emotional support to those who require it during dire times.