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You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
We are an open and affirming, multi-racial and multi-cultural, assessable to all, peace and justice oriented body of faith. We go into the community and God's disciples. Grounded by the teachings of Jesus the Christ, we uplift Christ's goodness, create spiritual community, and care for God's people and God's world. Dynamic hope, incredible compassion, extravagant hospitality, and radical love are our core values.
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The Health Benefits of Pets
Most pet owners would agree that having a pet enriches their lives: whether it’s the sense of companionship when your dog cuddles up with you, or the satisfaction of watching your cat pounce on a favorite toy, having a four-legged friend can provide a sense of purpose and well-being, even on the worst days.
The benefits of having a family pet aren’t just in your head (although the mental benefits are significant): in studies conducted over the past 25 years, more and more researchers are realizing that pet ownership comes with unexpected health benefits, from reduced levels of depression to improved heart health.
Physical Benefits of Owning a Pet
Some of the largest studies of the effects of pet ownership on health have shown that having an animal around increases cardiovascular health, including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reducing the risk of heart attacks. Pet owners tend to be more active than people who don’t own pets, whether that means taking the dog for a long walk or playing with a cat for a long stretch of time.
- Heart Health – One study followed 240 married couples, and found that those with a pet had lower heart rates and blood pressure, along with quicker recovery from stress.
- Healthy Weight – In another study of 2,000 adults, dog owners who regularly walked their dogs were more physically active, and less likely to be obese.
- Mobility & Stamina – Finally, a study of 2,500 adults between the ages of 71 and 82 showed that participants who regularly walked their dogs had greater mobility, and also walked faster and for longer time periods.
The physical effects of having a pet go way beyond heart health: in several studies, having a family pet reduced children’s likelihood of developing allergies, and children with significant early exposure to animals tended to have stronger immune systems.
Pet Ownership and Mental Health
Pets can also be a great defense against depression or loneliness: pets are a source of unconditional love and affection, and for many pet owners, having a furry companion gives them a sense of purpose. While studies to determine the mental effects of pet ownership are ongoing, several of the latest studies seem to indicate that having a pet leads to better overall mental health:
- Chronic Pain – Many researchers believe that animal-assisted therapy can help chronic pain patients mentally cope with ongoing treatment and feelings of depression.
- Calming Touch – Other studies have shown that the mental boost provided by pet ownership is related to the human need to touch: petting or hugging an animal can provide rapid calming or anxiety relief during stressful times.
- Anxiety Relief – Even owners of small pets can benefit from the calming effects of pets: watching fish swim around a tank, for example, might help reduce feelings of anxiety and distract you from anxiety.
Many of the studies of the mental effects of pet ownership are ongoing, while others have not drawn any definite conclusions about the relationship between mental health and having a family pet. If you’re a pet owner, though, it’s hard to deny that having your animal nearby can help you cope with tough situations.
Family Pets and Emotional Development
While the social and emotional benefits of pet ownership don’t come up too much, pets often give their owners many more opportunities to socialize. Pet owners tend to be more active, which means they have more chances to interact with other pet owners throughout their lives. And when it comes to breaking the ice, what’s a better conversation topic than pets?
Some promising studies have even started to examine the effects of having a family pet on the development of children: in one study, kids were likely to talk to their pets when they were having a hard time, and several studies have linked pets to increased socialization for children with developmental disabilities or social disorders.
Want to Stay Healthy? Get a Family Pet!
Having a family pet around benefits everyone: you’re giving you and your loved ones a loyal, supportive companion, and giving an animal a caring, loving home (and if you adopt your pet, giving an animal a new chance at a happy life!). Even if you set the studies of the health benefits aside, a family pet can make you and your loved ones happy, and that can have a major positive impact on your life and your sense of well-being.
Pets are a huge responsibility, though, so it’s important to remember that along with those health benefits comes a lot of work. But if your home is ready for a pet, we definitely think it’s worth the effort.
Be sure to check out our related post on The Best Pets.