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Pet Therapy

Furry friends make for healthier humans

Studies have shown that contact with animals can reduce our stress improve our moods and provide an increased sense of well-being. The simple act of petting an animal is actually a very healthy thing to do. It also represents an incredible way to make your community a better place.

If you love animals, this may be one of the best ways to volunteer.

Places like animal shelters can offer you the chance to make a real difference in the lives of many pets and people. Or you may wish to foster a dog or cat. It's one of the easiest ways to bring love and companionship into your home. There are also many organizations that train service dogs to help people lead richer and more independent lives. By helping to train animals, you'll also help people in your community for years to come.

One simple way to make a big impact is to take your pet to visit people at a hospital or senior center.

The contact between pets and people has a calming, reassuring effect. Many people report feeling less alone and generally much happier. Children having hospital treatments can benefit greatly by the simple distraction of having a friend to pet. Some doctors have even gone so far as to call it "Pet Therapy."

There's no question about the health benefits of volunteering. In fact, recent research showed that eight in 10 volunteers believe that volunteering improves physical health. By making other peoples' lives better, you can become healthier yourself. However you decide to volunteer, taking action with animals is a great way to help stay healthy.

If you find yourself asking, "How do I get started volunteering with animals?" consider some of these ideas:

  • Foster a dog or cat in your home
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter
  • Help train service dog
  • Volunteer to take your pet to hospitals and senior centers
  • Become a dog walker
  • Help with animal socialization

Source: http://www.dogoodlivewell.org

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