Saturday, June 28, 2014

Aging: Seriously, a pet is a good thing!

When I wrote the article the other day about needing a dog, I did so with tongue in cheek. However, there is a serious issue here. See, I really do believe that those of us that are older still need to nurture and care for something. Nurturing is probably a basic human need.

It wasn't until I came to realize that those people I had fussed over in the past didn't want me to do that anymore that I began to understand why the little old lady down the street not only loved her darling dog but truly needed it.

Cat kiev
Cat kiev (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My children are not mean spirited and love me a great deal. For that reason, they do not want me to worry. They are trying to shield me from what is bad in their lives. I understand that feeling well. After all I am a daughter of a mother. The truth of the matter is I don't want to worry either. It sort of makes me feel sick.

But in a world without worry and control, there is a void of sorts. People of my age and older like to look and see someone gazing at us adoringly and an animal becomes the surrogate for grandchildren and children or a missing companion. A pet's complete dependence on us makes our lives complete somehow.

The fact is that the research agrees. Evidence shows that pet ownership is one of the real components needed to treat depression in older people. But that is only part of the picture. Stress, heart disease and anxiety disorders also fall into that group of conditions alleviated by pet ownership.

In an article written by Stanley Coren for Psychology Today titled The Health and Psychological Benefits of Bonding with a Pet Dog,  Coren talked about the conditions eased by the ownership of a pet. Coren is the author of several books about dogs and professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. In the segment dealing with aging he said:
Research looked at [people] 60 years of age and older, who were not living with human companions, but were living with a pet. The likelihood that the non-pet owners would end up being diagnosed as clinically depressed was four times higher than that found in the pet owning people of the same age. There was also evidence that the pet owners required fewer medical services and were much more satisfied with their lives.
So, see I could be onto something here. A dog, cat or even a parrot may be the solution to all kinds of problems. I think I am fine. But for you or someone you know, it may be something to think about. 

FYI: My husband and I cannot have a dog in our park model in Arizona...rules you know. So until we move or the rules change, we will not be having a dog. RV the Cat and I will just have to learn how to love each other!



  1. This is exactly why we once again have a dog after 9 years of being without a pet - we missed nurturing. The other benefit for us is that we are more playful as she demands playmates. It has been a good thing for us and we were careful to get a dog of a size and exercise requirements that we can take care of as we get even older. Of the cats we have had in the past about half were playful and willing to be cuddly at times - good luck with yours!

  2. I need all the luck I can get with this guy...this is a cat with an attitude, a big mouth and a love for my husband. At least half the family is feeling content! :)

  3. We have one cat - expensive because my husband is allergic to cats and she is hypoallergenic. The expense is worth it. If I wind up alone, I will get one or two from a shelter.


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