Best Friends with Benefits


Sunday March 5, 2017

Best Friends with Benefits

What are the most profound behavioral benefits of a pet?


Responsibility


Kids learn responsibility by owning and caring for a pet.  Ensuring the family dog, cat, hamster, ferret, mouse, or fish has ample food and fresh water instills in children accountability and obligation. When children learn their actions can have profound effects on their lives of their pets they also learn to replicate this pride in relationships with parents, siblings, and teachers. Children who care for pets also develop a heightened and refined self awareness and self-esteem.
Common persons seeking pets for responsibility building include: veterans, autism spectrum children and adults, children with emotional challenges, seniors, adults, victims of abuse, victims of bullying, and at risk young adults.

Learning

Researchers affirm that the presence of therapy canines in schools helps emotionally challenged and developmentally challenged kids learn. New studies indicate all children can derive these same benefits. Additional focused research reveals adults have significant benefit at home and work from the presence of animals. This might be why so many places of work and common work spaces are pet friendly in this digitally focused age. Kids who are still learning to read and write to young adults learning to perform practicing and reciting with a pet can be the non judgement and affirmation needed to reduce anxiety and build confidence.
Common persons seeking pets for confidence building include: veterans, autism spectrum children and adults, children with emotional and learning challenges, seniors, adults, victims of abuse, victims of bullying, and at risk young adults. 

Family 

Pets help families learn familial and collective responsibility and shared obligation. Families that eat together and have shared responsibility are shown to grow stronger together. Sometimes families need to work out schedules and logistics and discuss best practices and mistakes and errors made with their new pet. Often such discussions yield relationship benefits far beyond the task of caring for a pet.
Common persons seeking pets for family building include: veterans, autism spectrum children and adults, children with emotional challenges, seniors, adults, victims of abuse, victims of bullying, and at risk young adults.

Health


Studies show that babies with a pet in the home have far less often bouts of sickness or doctor visits in their first year. Exposure to pet dander and the microbes is believed to improve young and developing immune systems. Additional evidence suggests newborns raised with dogs experience reduced risk of allergies.
Aside from all those icky microbes are the pure joy pets bring to children. Nothing can quite induce a child’s laughter like the silly tumble of a clumsy puppy or the vibrating purr of a baby kitten against soft baby skin. Laughter induces the body to produce ‘feel good’ endorphins which reduce pain and also promote well being and feelings of safety.
Common persons seeking pets for health reasons include: veterans, autism spectrum children and adults, children with emotional challenges and physical health challenges including diabetes and obesity, seniors, adults, and at risk young adults. 

Tuesday February 21, 2017

Best Friends with Benefits

What are the most profound emotional benefits of owning a pet?


Companionship

A pet provides companionship and friendship to children, teens, adults and seniors alike. Dogs, in particular, provide comfort and thus have been famously crowned “man’s best friend” over millenia. Cuddling, massaging, petting, and caring for dogs has been clinically proven in medical testing and analysis to reduce stress, induce relaxation, and provide safety, security, and alleviation of anxiety.
Common persons seeking pets for companionship include veterans with PTSD, children, and seniors. 

Nurturing

Caring for pets offers children and adults alike a chance to nurture and care for an animal with daily and hourly demands and needs. From house-breaking to training to walking, play and recreation the commitments and obligations in properly raising, caring for, training, and loving a pet teaches children to better care for themselves and others.
Common persons seeking pets for nurturing include:  veterans with PTSD,  medically disabled and challenged,  autism spectrum children and adults, children, and stroke victims.

Comfort

Animals are also a great source of comfort. When children are upset, angry, sad, or anxious they turn to their pet for comfort or a source of tension reduction or replacement. In some cases the tension is actually replaced by the ability to nurture the pet, or go on a walk, or take a dog to play. Medical researchers have found new evidence that suggests pet ownership among children is critical in reducing social anxiety and related challenges.
Common persons seeking pets for comfort include: veterans with PTSD,  autism spectrum children and adults, children with emotional challenges, seniors, adults, and victims of abuse.

Confidence 

When a child can care for a living and dependent animal they develop and build upon this by speaking about their pet, writing about their pet, and feeling assured that their pet reciprocates this devotion. A pet’s love is also enduring and less complex than parents, friends, family, and the demands of school, social and societal expectations.
Common persons seeking pets for confidence building include: veterans, autism spectrum children and adults, children with emotional challenges, seniors, adults, victims of abuse, victims of bullying, and at risk young adults.


Stay tuned for our next blog on Best Friends with Benefits.