Have you ever heard the saying “dogs are a man’s best friend” or “Be the person your dog thinks you are.”? These quotes along with many more show how important animals can be to our lives. Animals have been used for everything from food to clothing but also for companionship and have now been linked to positive effects on humans and their health. Also, animals have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, longer life expectancies and lower blood pressure. Lastly, service animals have become one of the most special jobs an animal can have. They have been used to treat people with both physical and mental disabilities.
For a more visual explanation of the pros of having a pet, watch this video!
One way animals help us in our lives is by affecting our physical health as well as mental heatlh. There have been many studies done to show how animals, specifically dogs, have been linked to decreased risk of heart disease, blood pressure and the increase in life expectancy. Increase in exercise also leads to a decrease in heart disease and lower blood pressure. According to an article by WebMD written by Lisa Fields, “dog owners walk more and have lower blood pressure than people who don’t have dogs.” showing that the increase of exercise and having a pet are related. One study that is infamous for supporting animals having an impact on human psychological health was a study done by Allen, K., Shykoff, B.E. and Izzo, J.L. In their study, they tested “a clinical trial in which hypertensive stockbrokers were randomly assigned to either pet or no-pet conditions. Six months later, when put in a stressful situation, subjects in the pet group showed lower increases in blood pressure than did those in the non-pet control condition.” These examples show the reader both mental and physical effects of an animal on their human.
The exact definition of a service animal as said by the Animal Welfare Institute, is any animal that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Service animals are used to help people with their physical and emotional struggles. The training of service animals has been traced back to the early 1900’s. During World War I, German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers began to be trained and used to help wounded vets. Today, the most common service animals are brace and mobility support dogs, autism assistance dogs, service seizure response dogs, hearing dogs and medical alert dogs [along with many others]. This goes to show the evolution of service animals and their many useful resources.
In the end, animals are more important to our lives than we normally give them credit for. Besides being our top provider of food and clothing, animals serve as the great replacements and cure for some medications and diseases and the best companions and workers out there. Between helping people with health, both mental and physical, and helping us be better humans, it’s no wonder more people now than ever are moving towards owning animals in their own homes.