September 22, 2013

Benefits of Pets: Life with Moore Babies (Guest Post)

Happy Sunday! I am tickled to share with you a post from a blogging friend, Ashley of the blog Life with Moore Babies! Enjoy as she shares her thoughts on pets and family!

Animals have always been an important part of my life. Like most kids, I loved all furry creatures, and I was very curious about all animals. I remember begging my parents for a kitten when the neighbor down the street had some; somehow I convinced them and got my first inside kitten. My little kitty, Marbles, got me through a lot including my parents divorce, my mom's remarriage, and the death of my grandmother. I always leaned on him when it came to anything difficult in my life even if it was normal teenage drama. Since then I have always had kitties around, and now as a veterinarian, I can truly see what a difference all pets make in people's lives.

We all know that many animals are able to help disabled people and some even save their owners in emergency situations, but pets improve our lives in numerous other, less obvious, ways. These include improved physical health, better mental health, and character development for kids.

Some of the physical benefits of owning a pet are obvious. If you have a dog you likely walk it and get the benefit of extra exercise. But both dogs and cats are associated with decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol, and a decreased risk of heart attack. Indoor animals in particular are also linked to a lower risk of asthma and allergies in children.

Pets also lead to improved mental health. This doesn't just apply to dogs and cats although we definitely see it with them, it applies to birds, fish, horses, and any other companion animal. The simple act of caring for an animal can help those who suffer from depression, anxiety, or Alzheimer's. Pets are non judgmental which makes them easier to talk to then other people. This can be very helpful for anyone of any age! For children in particular, having pets is associated with decreased stress levels and increased self esteem when pets are part of their life.  I think I benefited from this one the most as a child; my kitty was always the "person" I went to with everything!

For kids having a pet can help encourage responsibility as they help you in the daily care of the animal. Having a pet around also means you have to teach kids to handle the pet properly which helps them to learn to be more empathetic. They can see that the animal needs specific things to survive and also that it likes to be handled in a gentle manner.  The skills they learn from dealing with animals will extend into how they treat other people.

Once the child is school age it can be helpful for them to read (or perform) to the pet. That same non-judgmental characteristic that makes people confide in their pets also allows children to openly practice a new skill in front of them, increasing their confidence.

Although I do not think this is a good reason to get a pet, they can teach kids about life and death. Since animals are only with us a short time it is likely that kids will experience the loss of a pet before the loss of a relative. It gives you a chance to get them more comfortable with the idea that life here ends at some point.

I know I am extremely grateful for all of my pets, past, present, and even future! I am also thrilled knowing my kids can grow up loving animals in our home too!  Pets are only with us a short while, so hug your pet today. Please consider adopting one if you don't already have one (after making sure you can commit to it of course):  they will be a great addition to your family!

Want to read more on the benefits of having animals around? Visit, WebMD, or Animal Planet.

A classic strong-willed child, Ashley, fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian in 2005; only to realize a new dream had formed, having a family with her husband (another strong-willed child). After much heartache, they were blessed with two daughters and a son, who are all proving to be just as spirited as their parents! Though she is still working part-time, she fills her days off with fun activities and lots of learning with her three kids. And this is where the blog comes in. Life with Moore Babies is where she documents the activities they do and the places they go in hopes that someone might be inspired to do some “fun learning” with their kids.You can find Ashley on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google +.
I hope that you enjoyed Ashley's post! I look forward to sharing another guest post later this week!

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