Call me crazy, but I talk to my animals. Sure, they probably don’t understand me, just as most of the time I don’t understand them. Still I find it comforting knowing that they are there to “listen.” In my opinion, they almost keep you sane. My dog will look up, cock his head and look at me as if to say, “No. Really? Tell me more.” My cat will sidle up to me if it seems I’ve had a bad day, just to let me know that “someone” is there.
We don’t give animals enough credit where credit is due. They are wonderful keepers of company. Although they do occasionally default to their rebellious nature, they are always willing to be by your side at the end of the day, and it’s comforting to know that.
Why is this so important?
Well, according to Barbara Worthington, associate editor of Aging Well, relationships with animals develop into bonds that strengthen significantly over time. Many older adults enjoy the memories of a pet they once had, and animal-assisted therapy can offer a connection that allows aging adults to remember, vocalize their recollections and smile.
However, not only does having an animal around help to increase your social behavior, but “elders’ interactions with animals can improve their self-esteem, help them cope with their losses, and boost their sense of self-worth,” says Marjorie Shoemaker, coordinator of Caring Paws.
Small or large, having an animal can actually change the environment of your home. It gives you something to look after, to interact with and to socialize with. Depending on the kind of care your animal of choice needs, it still gives you an overall positive spin on your health. Woof!