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FOUR-LEGGED LOVE

June 2, 2013
Zackie Boy

Zackie Boy

If your home is anything like ours, not only is there piter-patter of human feet, but there is also paw prints of various types found everywhere. There are a total of 10 human feet in our home, along with 16 paws. We have three teenage boys, two dogs and two cats. Actually, if you ask the cats, they’ll tell you that they allow us to live with them, but you get the main idea.

In fact, I can’t recall a time in my life when there weren’t pets around. Even in college, where they attempted to enforce a strict “no pets” policy, I managed to smuggle in a kitten that found its way to my dorm.

The Grey Thing

The Grey Thing

Since I spent quite a few years moving around a lot and living in apartments, cats were the more adaptable, but as soon as my husband and I moved out to the country and began fostering children, we expanded our animal kingdom to include two absolutely amazing dogs.

Codaranius

Codaranius

There is no doubt in my mind, that these animals enhance the quality of all of our lives. In fact, for one of our boys, it is as if his connection with our dogs has brought him back to life emotionally.

It is not surprising that recent studies involving the measurement of brain activity confirm a physiological reaction (increased activity) linked to being shown pictures of animals. Scientists at the California Institute of Technology and the University of California at Los Angeles were able to measure brain activity in 41 persons on a cell-by-cell level and found that neurons in the amygdala became extremely active when participants were shown pictures of animals.

Gingervitis

Gingervitis

Surprisingly, the type of animal made no difference – so whether it is your pet snake Fluffy or a soft, cuddly, baby kitten, we humans sure do love animals.

Many of us, however, take it quite a bit further. I know I do! There are times when I could swear I am absolutely positive I know what my little Terrier-mix is thinking and feeling. He and I have developed a very special bond we both know it.

It is different with cats. They let you know they care just by allowing you to experience their company. They grace us humans with their presence – there is no need to overdo it…for cats, just being there is enough. But despite their cool and somewhat detached exterior, we are loved.

And so are they. There never is a trip to the grocery store that doesn’t include some type of treat or snack that our four-legged friends won’t go crazy over. We have run out of staples like milk and bread in our home, but always seem to have “cookies” for the pups and “treats” for the cats, even if it is in the form of a slice of cheese or turkey.

Zigmund

Zigmund

And when all is said and done – there’s no doubt about it, it’s the absolute least we can do!

ABOUT ME

I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

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4 Comments
  1. There really is scientific evidence to back up that animals have a positive effect on people. There is the use of therapy dogs, therapy horses and other animals for children with special needs or to help calm people in disaster areas. They are specially trained dogs for court rooms where children need to testify and the dogs are trained to stay with the children and make them feel safe and calm in a not-so-warm environment. There is even a study that suggests that if you live with a pet, you have lower blood pressure and tend to live longer.

    PS: Those pictures are ADORABLE! :o)

    • Hi Jayme,

      Great comment. There are more studies being done and each one shows more benefits to the relationships we develop with our pets. They provide unconditional love – That is something you can’t put a price on!

  2. my friend has 10 cats! I had to take care of them for a weekend. They were a handful but a lot of fun! I love dogs and cats myself! I love the pictures too!

    • Wow 10 is a lot but yes, they can be great fun. I can’t imagine how you handled all 10. The pictures are all of our own pets. The little poodle belongs to my niece.

      I’m glad you like them.

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