Can owning a pet be beneficial to your health? – Part 1

I don’t have a pet, because I can’t take it in my house, but I support a local animalist association in Savona, Italy, where I live and I’ve known and helped many cats and dogs to find a new family and also to give a first aid to the street cats that are brought to my association to be healed and given to somebody.

Before, when I lived in Genoa, in front of the main door of my house, along the street, there was a big, red female cat that was very sweet with me, always liking my caresses and my company.

I couldn’t take her in my home, at least in the coldest days of winter, because, in that period, I lived with my mother and she hated cats.

Another person, an old man living in my block of flats, gave her food and medical care: he was a “gattaro”, like is called here in Italy and, despite I never gave her food, she liked much my company.

This also to answer to people believing that cats are egoist and opportunist!

So, I can witness some of the beneficial effects of what is called “PET THERAPY” that are mainly PSYCHOLOGICAL and NERVOUS, giving a well-being state that contrasts depression, anxiety and sadness, stimulating the production of endorphins, the hormones responsible of pleasant sensations.

Also my nerves also enjoy the presence of a pet to care, touch and hug with a pleasant relax that makes me forget what stressed me in that period (unemployment).

I know that pet therapy is today practiced on purpose also for NOT normal persons, like children and adults suffering of autism, sensorial deficits, mental and physical disabilities, etc., with good results, because these patients react better to what is around them, thanks to the direct contact with a pet that gives back the affection it receives.

The pet, maybe, attract their attention, stimulates them to make something and to accept a little responsibility towards the animal.

Children, today, can stay in swimming pools with dolphins, ride pony horses, play with cats, dogs and rabbits in their schools and institutes and sometimes, also in hospitals.

Then, pets have been recently introduced in PRISONS to heal prisoners’ loneliness and depression and to make arise in them a sense of responsibility for the need of looking after a little life.

Surely, not all prisoners can be considered able to have a pet in their cells and, furthermore, in Italy, prisons are overcrowded in the average and it’s still difficult to make stay a little pet in such critic situations. So, I hope that psychologists that have to decide whom to give a pet are able to make well their work.

Pets are benefical for us because they keep us closer to mother-nature and to an equilibrium that, otherwise, would be more difficult to reach or preserve.

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