One of the things that pets did early on to endear themselves to humans was sleeping in our beds. They crept in out of their own desire to be warm, but in turn we found this a benefit and in the early days pets were kept as bed warmers.
Hunters and Helpers
Some pets have become helpers, not only in history, but to this very day. While not all the animals used in such purposes are consider “pets”, a good many are. Cats serve a wonderful purpose of killing vermin in our homes.
Dogs have helped mankind hunt for food and guard animals kept for food purposes. Certain breeds of dogs are used even still to hunt large game, and of course we are all familiar with the Border Collie as it herds sheep. Other dogs have been used as service animals for people with hearing, vision, and even mobility, problems.
Chimps, Miniature Horses, and other animals have also become pets with purposes, serving as service animals and companions.
Health Benefits to Owners
More than practical benefits, having a pet benefits a person in many health related ways.
Pet owners have been found to have lower to be calmer, particularly when their pet is around. In a 2002 study by the Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition and the US Food and Drug Administration pet owners were more relaxed, and had lower heart rates, and blood pressure when given math problems at a time when their pet was near.
Studies have shown that pet owners “make fewer doctor visits, especially for non-serious medical conditions”, than do non-pet owners.
Young children raised in homes with two or more furry pets have fewer reactions to allergens and are less likely to develop asthma.
People with pets are less likely to suffer from serious depression, and those who suffer from depression may find comfort in the unconditional love returned by their pet.
Pets, particularly dogs, help people to stay healthy by getting those people off the couch and walking.
A person with a pet always has a companion, they are always loved, and they always have somebody to talk to. The pet will never judge them. For children, single people, and seniors, the companionship of a pet can be a treasured item.
Teaches Responsibility and Compassion
When children grow up with pets as a part of their family they learn to care for things that are not as capable of caring for themselves in the same way humans are. They learn that dogs need to be walked, trained, cleaned up after, that cats require care, and so forth. This is only if the parent is a responsible owner, demonstrating by example. These lessons are things can learn and take with them when they are older, having seen their parent care for the pet and provide it with food, shelter, care, and love.
The rest of society receives a benefit too, whether they know it or not. Pet ownership reduces health care expenses, so in countries where the government funds health care, the expenses are greatly reduced but the number of people who have pets. A study in 1999 in Australia suggested that in one year over $2 Billion Australian Dollars were saved by cats and dogs in that country as people relied on the health care system less. Thus tax payers were saved a small fortune.
Specific pets, such as chickens, lay eggs, and eat insects. Fish in a pond help keep the pond clean. Dogs can act as burglar alarms, and cats too have been known to alert their owners of dangers.
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