Pet Owners Live Longer
Let’s jump right in with the research behind why pet owners live longer before getting into the touchy feely stuff.
For you dog lovers out there, a review of studies from 1950 to 2019 was just released. Their conclusion – Dog ownership is associated with lower risk of death. (https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.119.005554)
We didn’t forget about you cat lovers. One of the more impressive studies done about cat ownership concludes pretty much the same thing. A decreased risk for death due to cardiovascular disease was observed among persons with cats. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3317329/)
This is good news. Very good news. Yet one more reason to run out and get yourself a pet (adopt a senior pet – they’re awesome).
Here comes the feel good
Thank you to science, but let’s add an emotional component to this particular pet ownership post. I’d like to take a moment to look at the emotional heart to heart connection that happens between a pet and its owner.
Pets have a magical way of soothing us. I believe this is due to the ‘in the moment’ nature of animals. Most of us live a stressful lifestyle. Many hours of work, worry and fear. That stress and fear is a direct result of being out of the moment. Out of touch with what is happening right here right now, in the center of the moment at hand.
In the moment
This is where animals come in because they are 100% in the moment. And they are not worried about tomorrow or three days ago. They are here, right now, present. When we sit with a pet who is in the moment, they invite us into that moment with them, away from the stress.
A good friend once said to me the key to being in the moment is to recognize that right here, right now, you are okay. In this very second, you are fine. A lion is not chasing you. You are not falling off a cliff. Right here, right now, you are okay.
Our pets remind us of this. They invite us to be present with them and focused on nothing but the connection between the two of you.
- When your massive Great Dane climbs up on top of you while you’re stressing over bills you have no choice but to stop, put the bills down, and pet the big lug.
- Your cat decides the best place in the house is right on top of your computer keyboard while you are working. It’s a reminder to chill out and pet him.
- Riding your horse you need to be present and focused on the cadence. You cannot be focused on anything else or you will lose the rhythm.
These are examples of animals demanding our focus. That’s just one way we are brought into the moment as a pet owner. This doesn’t account for the many times we simply walk away from the stress for a moment and sit with our animal friends to connect just because.
Your heart knows
Studies are absolutely wonderful, but the truth is, in your heart you know the value of that connection. If you are, or ever have been a pet owner, you know the warm invitation to let the world fall away and just cuddle, play or connect. Your pet is grateful for it and so is your health.
So take a moment to sit with them, pet them and be playful. Such a simple act brings what is really important back into focus for you. It reminds you what is out of your control isn’t worth your energy. Your time is better spent in that moment with the pet that is giving you their undivided attention, thrilled you are giving the same to them.
Connect with your pet.
Your mental health and physical health will thank you.
Something so simple yet powerful.