Humans aren’t the only ones looking forward to warmer weather and an hour more of daylight in the afternoon starting March 10

A Spring in Their StepBLONDEPHOTO_220616_544_0647

Dogs are also itching to get outside on longer walks and sniff the fresh air and budding daffodils. Cats will linger contentedly in windowsills as they soak up the extra dose of sun.  

The advent of spring is a wonderful time to celebrate the four-legged friends in our lives. The many benefits they offer are long-standing and undeniable.  

The Origins of the Human-Animal Bond 

Beginning as a working relationship, the ties between animals and people have evolved over more than 15,000 years.  

Feral dogs warned hunter-gatherer societies against predators and provided services such as hunting, tracking and herding. Cats killed disease-carrying rodents and other pests. Eventually, an interdependence developed between humans reliant on animals and animals needing sources of food, shelter and mutual warmth 

We’ve come a long way from primitive canines taking their first tentative steps toward humans to Fifi in a pink purse, but the bonds between man and beast are unbreakable.  

For the Love of Dog…

WINDON-20231207-284-1090941…or cat, rabbit, guinea pig, ferret, bird, fish, reptile…whatever your pet preference, we homo sapiens adore our furry/feathered/scaled friends.  

In the U.S. alone, 66% of households own a pet (nearly 90 million homes). Dogs are the most popular, followed by cats and freshwater fish. Worldwide, there are over a billion pets 

Why Do We Love Our Pets So Much?

According to Psychology Today, pets offer the uncomplicated, unconditional love we all crave. “Our obsession with pets reveals what we want most from human relationships: connection, attunement and presence,” said Jason N. Lynder, PsyD.  

Dogs especially live to please us and be with us. Whether we’re gone for a month or five minutes, they greet us with an enthusiasm few, if any, humans can muster. Watch just one of the many heartwarming videos of dogs reuniting with their humans after a military tour to witness the singular connection they have with their best friend. 

Cats are social, too, rubbing against our legs and purring happily in our laps. Even the more aloof felines provide endless sources of entertainment. In recent years, over 18 million cat videos were uploaded to YouTube, capturing billions of human eyes on their hilarious antics.  

All that said, pets are just plain adorable, too. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and some even think their snakes are cute! 

The Indisputable Benefits of Animals in Our LivesWINDON-20231207-183-1357

  • Physical 
    Regular contact with animals lowers cortisol, a stress hormone, and increases “feel good” hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. Pets also help lower blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, serum triglycerides and the risk of stress-induced disease. Daily attention to pets (walking, playing, lifting, grooming) is not only rewarding, it’s also good exercise.  
  • Emotional 
    Pet ownership is strongly associated with lowered risk of depression and improved mental health. The comfort and companionship of a beloved pet alleviates loneliness and often brings us into essential contact with human others. Pets provide the unconditional love and acceptance we all need to thrive and maintain a healthy view of ourselves and the world around us. Even without the physical presence of a pet, watching animal videos reduces stress by as much as 50%, according to one study 
  • Cognitive 
    Pet care requires regular attention to routine and detail, helping us to stay sharp. For people  with dementia, contact with pets can spark positive memories and elicit smiles and verbalization. For those who have become non-verbal, friendly pets respond readily to human touch, evoking a unique – and very rewarding – “conversation” that transcends words.  
  • Security,  Service and Support 
    Dogs offer homeowners reliable security, as some reports say a barking dog will deter 95% of would-be intruders. For police and military personnel, working dogs are invaluable. With their keen senses and laser focus, they can assist in search and rescue missions, find missing persons, apprehend suspects, sniff out drugs and explosives and provide protection in perilous situations. Service animals are literal life-savers for individuals with disabilities or illness, guiding their steps, performing daily tasks and sensing oncoming medical incidents such as seizures or diabetic comas. Others rely on animals for emotional support, particularly those with intense anxiety or PTSD

PeCollington_pupts and Older Adults 

It’s a rare senior community these days that doesn’t have a house dog or cat cozying up to residents, staff and visitors. Many, like Collington, allow and encourage residents to move in with their furry friends 

But for older adults who live alone, pets are particularly advantageous 

Animals alleviate the loneliness and isolation many seniors experience. Caring for pets also provides a sense of purpose and, for dog owners, daily exercise and connection with the outside world. Pets also provide cognitive benefits, key to healthy aging, and trusted security and protection for vulnerable older adults.  

Some pets are better suited to seniors than others. Here are some tips for choosing the right pet for an older person.  

Furry Friends at Collington 

We at Collington celebrate the immense benefits of pets in our lives. We understand they’re family, and we’re delighted to open our doors to four-legged friends. Our fenced in dog park, 125 wooded acres and extensive walking trails make Collington the ideal home for a beloved paw pal. Even those who don’t own a pet have the pleasure of being among friendly animals as active residents take their fur babies out and about campus each day. Pets can lead the way to meaningful human bonds, too, sparking conversations and joyful encounters.  

Bring your best friend on your next adventure in life. 
Schedule a tour today!