It’s easy to understand how having pets can improve the health of humans. Every time I’m out walking the dog when I would otherwise be sitting on the couch, or I’m laying on the couch petting a purring cat I think about how I might squeak out a few more days of good, healthy life thanks to these little critters. NPR went a bit more in depth on the topic:
Take Viola, or Vi for short. The retired guide dog is the resident canine at the Children’s Inn on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. The Inn is where families stay when their children are undergoing experimental therapies at NIH.
Vi, a chunky yellow Labrador retriever with a perpetually wagging tail, greets families as they come downstairs in the morning, as they return from treatment in the afternoon, and can even be “checked out” for a walk around the bucolic NIH grounds.
One wonders how dogs that chew your shoes, or cats who won’t stop trying to lay on your book while you’re reading it help our blood pressure, but the studies don’t seem to be covering that. Instead, research is on how animals can help us — and in some cases, how we can help them. It’s a great story, so be sure to click through and listen/read the whole thing.