Do you share your life with a furry or feathered friend? They so adeptly blend into our lives with willingness and unconditional love it is easy to take their devotion for granted.

My husband and I adore our soft-coated Wheaten Terrier, O’Connor, who blesses our lives with kisses, hugs, devotion, loyalty, and companionship which has been transformational. O’Connor has changed our freedom-loving lifestyle into one which is richer, more rewarding, and more thoughtful.

Pets provide life enrichment to people of all ages, and particularly for seniors and disabled who may have more limited social supports. According to Mary Kirkland, contributing Yahoo author in Health Benefits of Pet Ownership, “The biggest one (benefits) is they help fight loneliness.”

Pets provide special enrichment to the lives of seniors. A study in the Journal of American Geriatrics demonstrated that “seniors living on their own who have pets tend to have better physical health and mental well-being than those who don’t. They are more active, cope better with stress and have better overall health. They also reported shorter hospital stays and less health-care costs than non-pet owners.”

Regardless our age, our pet of choice may become a treasured family member who shares daily activities, exercise routines, special occasions, holiday traditions, and life’s ups and downs.

Our own family is ever-amazed by the extent of O’Connor’s active presence, captured in our photo albums from standard photos, to computer files, to cell phone collections our O’Connor’s presence, replete with doggy smiles and shining eyes amaze us still. His continuing excitement to be an active and engaging contributor in our lives astounds us.

Though we are clearly dog people, there are a variety of fabulous choices. From elegantly colorful fish, singing and talking birds, soft and purring cats, and so many more, which all have positive benefits to our emotional, physical and spiritual well being.

What is important, however, is that you choose a pet which is right for you, your lifestyle and your home. Pets deserve to be loved and cared for, so it is critically important you choose the one which is right for you.

The ASPCA offers some helpful tips to help you join the “happy ranks of pet parenthood” and here is their partial list:

DOGS:  Often referred as our best friend, they are social, playful, loyal and loving. They thrive on being a member of the family and are adept at forming and emotional bond with their people.

CATSThough strongly independent, cuddly felines are the most popular pets in America. They are playful, affectionate, entertaining and athletic.

BUDGIES:  A great choice for a pet bird, this popular feathered companion is cheerful, playful and funny. This chirpy charmer may be trained to sit on your shoulder.

FISH:  Ideal for allergy sufferers, low maintenance fish add color and grace to any home.

There are many more options to choose from, but doing your homework will ensure a happy, healthy and positive lifestyle for you and your pet.

So let us remember to also toast to our precious pets as we express our thankfulness throughout the Thanksgiving season!

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is President and CEO of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California. In addition to her positions as entrepreneur, health care executive, educator, radio segment contributor and media guest, Edwards-Tate is also a wife, daughter, and dog lover. Read more  LifeCycles in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow At Your Home Familycare on Facebook and on Twitter @AYHFamilycare.
Copyright © 2012 by At Your Home Familycare

Leave a reply