Clear the Shelter Month, Adopt A Companion

August is Clear the Animal Shelter Month

What better time than during the Clear an Animal Shelter Adoption Campaign to adopt a pet? What might be some of the benefits to pet owners?

A recent article from the University of Florida News showed there might be a positive relationship between owning a pet for over five years and keeping cognitive skills sharp as you age. A slower decline in verbal memory, for example, being able to recall words, over time compared to non-pet owners. The lead author of the study, Jennifer Applebaum, was quoted as “We can’t show that this is causal, but it does show that pets could buffer or have a protective effect on older adults’ cognition, and we think it has to do with some of the mechanism related to stress buffering.”

A positive association with a pet is thought to reduce stress through emotional support, which may promote healthy cognitive aging. Taking care of the pet, such as walking a dog or feeding a cat, encourages physical activity, which is linked to cognitive health.

In a recent article from Harvard Health Publishing, you need to be aware that while there are health benefits, pet ownership may also pose risks. Before getting a pet, you should consider whether you can care for the animal physically and mentally. Mobility, strength, and energy are required to attend to the animal properly. Expenses may also play into the picture as costs may range from $500 to 1,600 dollars a year, depending on the age and condition of your pet. So, it would help if you considered this before adopting a pet.

While, as mentioned above, you need to consider the risks, the most obvious benefits of owning a pet are love and companionship. We do better if we feel securely attached to another. Taking care of a dog or a cat can provide a sense of purpose and a feeling of validation when you wake up or come home and there is someone happy to see you.

The owner can gain physical benefits by playing with the animal or taking it for a walk. This can also affect you socially. It might allow you to meet people along the walk or at the dog parks. Emotional benefits have been mentioned previously, but these can translate into physiological benefits. Feeling securely attached to a living being reduces stress responses. Your breathing rate, blood pressure, oxygen consumption, or anxiety level are all positively affected. Oxytocin, a chemical associated with social bonding, is boosted in both the dog and the owner when the dog owner stares into the eye of the dog.

Do not be anxious to adopt a pet from the animal shelter, as shelters often overflow with happy, healthy pets waiting for someone to take them home. Most shelter pets wound up there because of an individual’s struggle, like a move or a divorce, not because the animals did anything wrong. Many are already house-trained and acclimated to living with families. Shelters may save you the initial costs associated with owning a pet. Typically, they are already spayed/neutered and have had their vaccinations, saving you the upfront costs of adding a pet to your family. Training and housebreaking can be an enormous task for pet owners, and shelter pets are frequently already educated in these behaviors. Often you are giving the pet a second chance at a happy home. It often means introducing them to your family will be much easier.

Overburdened shelters take in millions of strays, abused, and lost animals every year. By adopting a pet, you are making room for another animal. Adoption costs less than buying and taking care of all the initial startup costs of owning a pet. The shelter uses the fees to better care for the animals they take in. Often during special occasions, the prices may be waived or used to support community outreach programs. Recently at the Marion County Board of County Commissioners, a few of the residents of the Animal Shelter attended a County Commissioner meeting. Consider the potential opportunities and the benefits you may receive by adopting a pet! Visit our Animal Shelter off County Road 35 (SE 58 Ave, commonly known as Baseline). retrieved 8/18/22 retrieved 8/18/22


Posted: August 19, 2022

Category: , Events, Health & Nutrition, Relationships & Family, UF/IFAS Research, WORK & LIFE
Tags: Adopt A Pet, Companion, Exercise, Healthy Living, Mental Health

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