The health benefits of having a pet

Dogs aren’t our whole lives, but they indeed make our lives whole. But dogs are not the only four-legged friends that give us peace. Cats do as well.

The company of any pet is beneficial to one’s health, be it emotionally, mentally or physically. So never mind the apple a day as pets can help decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels.

According to James E. Gern, MD, a pediatrician from University of Wisconsin-Madison, having a pet in the home can lower a child’s likelihood of developing related allergies and asthma. In fact, the exposure of animals early on shows a much stronger immune system overall.

Children are not the only benefiters of pets, health-wise. According to Lynette Hart, PhD, associate professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Alzheimer’s patients have been shown to have less anxiety with an animal in the home.

“Their caregivers also feel less burdened when there is a pet, particularly if it is a cat, which generally requires less care than a dog,” said Hart.

Children and seniors, and everyone in between, can certainly find the company of a four-legged friend a little less lonely.

The financial cost? Just an adoption fee.

Skip the therapist’s couch and share one in the comfort of your own home with a rescue that can increase so many levels of your health. Snuggle with cat that can’t stop purring after he had been looking for a home for three years, or play tug with the abandoned dog that has been looking for someone to love and trust.

While your immune system is building tolerance in allergies, your blood pressure is steady or your loneliness seems as if it is fleeting, don’t forget that you’re helping shelters make room so they don’t have to kill. That you’re helping a lonely animal get his spirit back.

Why we’re here

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Czech and French writer Milan Kundera once said, “Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”

If dogs are such an inspiration of peace why do humans put them through Hell? Some are abused. Some are used. Some are just unloved. Most are dumped at an already overcrowding shelter waiting to know love and give it back tenfold. Then there are those who are never given the chance to find it because many shelters resort to euthanizing.

What is euthanizing?
It’s a verb, derived from euthanasia, often defined as a “painless death.” A mercy killing, even, for animals and should only be used as a last resort – a gravely sick or injured animal or extreme aggression. It should never be used as a way to control overpopulation of pets, but many shelters face lack of funding and space to occupy the unwanted. So they end up killing healthy, adoptable animals.

What is being done?
Many advocates for animal welfare are on a mission to help shelters clear out space by hosting adoption events. Others are working with communities for “no kill shelters” to outnumber the “kill shelters.” Many have met resistance with local governments over funding, but the advocates are rising with Pets Alive! to help shelters get more animals adopted instead of resorting to putting them down.

There have been many organizations of Pets Alive! popping up within communities to provide the resources for shelters, including those in Fort Bend county.

Enter Fort Bend Pets Alive!
Thanks to the efforts from Claudine Vass, Cynthia Walsh and Ingrid Otero, the non-profit organization Fort Bend Pets Alive! was formed in Sugar Land, Texas in 2014. The local advocates work to promote and provide resource, education and programs needed to eliminate the killing of adoptable animals. We, as a non-profit organization, are dedicated to make Fort Bend County a no-kill community through programs such as adoptions, education and community outreach, low cost spay and neuter surgeries, fostering and rescuing those from a euthanasia list.

A lot of progress has been made within Fort Bend in the efforts to turn as many unwanted animals into loving pets, but we still have ways to go.