by Barry KuKes
Having a pet keeps you more active than if you don’t have a pet. If you have a dog, you need to let them out in your yard or take them for a walk. I see tons of seniors in my subdivision walking their dogs several times a day. If they walk the dog a mile each time (about 20-30 minutes), they walk about 3 miles a day. If you and the dog walk every day, you would be walking 21 miles a week, which is very good for your mental and physical well-being.
Even if all you do is get up off the couch and let your dog out into your yard, you are exercising your body. Then you need to pick up after your dog once they relieve themselves, which requires walking and bending. Without a dog to care for, you might sit on the couch and watch television, only moving when you need to use the bathroom or get something to eat or drink. Dogs are great exercise partners.
What about cats? Litter boxes need to be cleaned, and cats need attention. If you watch television and pet your cat on your lap, you are moving your arms and hands. If you didn’t have a cat, you might sit there, not moving at all. Even the slightest amount of movement is beneficial for your body.
Of course, keep in mind that if you are recovering from an injury like a broken hip, please consult with your doctor before jogging around the neighborhood with your dog. Use common sense and always be cautious when exercising with or without your dog.
Pets also keep your mind occupied. It’s challenging to doze on the couch if your cat is in your face purring, “feed me.” Dogs are even worse. “I gotta go out. I gotta go out… squirrel!” Dogs that move keep you moving as well. Older dogs need more sleep and are not as needy as younger dogs, so adopt a dog that is best for your lifestyle.
Some of the people reading this article will use this information to support their decision to have a pet. The person not interested in a pet may say, “See how much trouble a pet is? They need too much attention, and I don’t want to be tied down that much.” While others who would love to adopt a pet will say, “See how much better my life will be with a pet? I need a companion to keep me active.” To each their own.
I will always have a pet as long as I can care for the pet properly. I can’t imagine coming home to an empty house without a pet to greet me. Animals make me smile, and that is very important to me. Maybe you would like to put a smile on an animal’s face by giving them a loving home. They will be forever grateful. Save an animal’s life today, and you never know, that pet may save your life in return. As it is often said about rescuing an animal, “who saved who?”
Adopt, don’t shop.
Barry KuKes is the Community Out- reach Director for the Halifax Humane Society. You can reach Barry at 386. 274.4703, ext. 320, or BarryK@hali faxhumanesociety.org