Posted by: 2in10 | 07/26/2010

pets are good

The cover story of  this week’s USA Weekend Sunday insert is “Why Pets Are Good for Us.” The big news is that scientific research has shown the beneficial effects of pet ownership and contact with animals, benefits that many of us have experienced.

Alan Beck, director of the Center for Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University in Indiana, says, “Today, the National Institutes of Health and science in general recognize the overall value of pets.”

Steve Dale’s article reports that researchers have demonstrated:

  • watching a dog in a movie reduces stress by lowering levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone,” and
  • petting a dog raises levels of oxytocin, the neurotransmitter and “feel-good” hormone.

I was happy to see that cats were recognized for having “health-sustaining qualities.” While dogs encourage their owners to exercise (a very good thing), cats purr. Purring is soothing, ProfessorAdnan Qureshi of the University of Minnesota says, to cats and kittens and to people, although scientists don’t understand why.

Without any need for scientific proof, I am happy to credit cats with vibrational healing. I cite my hours in bed following chemotherapy treatments with my cat Paganini by my side. I believe he knew I was suffering, and he stayed with me to offer his warmth and soft but steady purr. 

In my work with her, Peggy Huddleston let me acknowledge how much Paganini’s company meant to me. I called his presence “pet therapy” and she gave me permission to hug him as many times a day as I could and deeply feel his presence.  We are cited in her book Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster.

Oncologist Edward Creagan of the Mayo Clinic has come up with a way to to get his computer system to “prescribe” a pet. He says, “A pet is a medication without side effects that has so many benefits.”

Scientists ask what’s really going on, but then they answer the question, “Animals provide a primitive comfort.”

Follow your heart and don’t feel silly!

Carolyn

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