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Pet Power

Pet Power

The sentiments are well known: “man’s best friend, “unconditional love, “protect you with their life.” We are talking about our love affair with our pets, and especially, our devotion to our dogs. They serve as our companions, guide us, entertain us, comfort us, alert us to danger, monitor our health, assist law enforcement, and even herd unruly and mischievous farm animals.  That’s quite the list – and all this for care, approval, and a few tasty treats. The Benefits We attribute much to the power of our pets.  There are many claims that our pets can reduce stress, mitigate depression and loneliness, lower our blood pressure, and in doing so, perhaps even extend our lifespan.  They show us what unconditional love looks like and demonstrate how to live in the moment.  Taking our pets out for frequent walks helps to keep us more active and engaged in their communities. Psychologist Penny B. Donnenfeld suggests that interaction with a personal pet can even prompt better memory recall and access to memories in older persons.  She also explains that attending to the needs of a pet can help to shift the owner’s attention away from their own challenges and losses associated with aging. The Controversy The trend to embrace the power of pets in supporting our emotional needs is not without controversy.  Some state that as much as we love to believe that pets make this positive difference, they assert that these beliefs are not supported with good research.  These researchers declare that the cold hard numbers are just not there, and that research that does suggest a relationship are confusing...