Perhaps it’s because our furry (and not so furry) friends have long provided us with comfort, fun, and unconditional love.
The Why Behind the Science.... The obvious explanation is that owning a dog gets you outdoors and walking, as Fido needs exercise. In fact, research shows dog owners get more aerobic exercise than those without pets. Exercise has all kinds of heart health benefits, helps fend off obesity and diabetes, and helps you avoid the pitfalls of a sedentary lifestyle. Getting out of the house also opens up more social opportunities and helps you meet the neighbors and feel more integrated into your neighborhood. This, too, can extend your life, as well-designed studies have documented.
But, what about the cat owners? We normally don’t see too many cat walkers around the neighborhood, last that I checked. It turns out that pets also have direct de-stressing effects, without your having to do anything. In experimental studies, when people had to put their hands in ice water, or do mental arithmetic, they were significantly less stressed, both psychologically and physiologically, when accompanied by their pet than by their spouse or friend. Hmmm?
There's a deep-rooted reason why we humans surround ourselves with dogs and cats and other animals. New research finds we are hardwired to respond to other critters and the mechanism that makes us do that probably dates back hundreds of millions of years to the time when vertebrates were first evolving. The secret is buried deep in a very old part of the brain, called the amygdala, long recognized as the seat of emotional reaction. Scientists at the California Institute of Technology and the University of California at Los Angeles were able to measure brain activity on a cell-by-cell level and found that neurons in the amygdala became extremely active when participants were shown pictures of animals.
In today’s fast paced life, it’s a well-known fact that having a pet at home helps reduce stress, anxiety and blood pressure and increase physical activity. And if that is not reason enough, just take a trip to the Animal Shelter – you will discover love! The Animal Shelter currently has a high population of dogs and cats, as well as a large selection of small animals that are looking for a loving home. Adopting an animal is easier than you may think. New ‘parents’ will be provided with the essentials needed to transition their newest family member home, including: Vaccines, de-worming treatment, lifetime license, microchip identification, six weeks free pet insurance, free veterinary exam, and vouchers towards spaying and neutering, if not already done.
Interested in making a difference in your community?
Don’t have the time, space or financial ability to adopt a pet? Animal Shelters all over the GTA are actively seeking volunteers. Make a difference in your community and help animals! One of the best places to volunteer may be very close to you: an animal shelter.
Whether you walk dogs, play with the cats, transport helpless and injured wildlife or domestic animals to a rehab centre or assist with a fundraising event, you can make a difference in the lives of animals. You can also donate items such as toys, blankets, beds, brushes, etc. which are always in high demand. Contact local Animal Shelter for further information.
Here are just a few of the benefits of volunteering:
- Be part of the solution. You'll join a network of hundreds of people working to make the world safe and more humane for all living creatures. You'll make the jobs of everyone working for animals a little easier by lending a hand and spreading the message of responsible pet ownership and animal protection.
- Get warm fuzzies. You'll never find a more grateful and accepting comrade than an animal you've comforted.
- Keep good company. You'll make lots of new friends and not just the four-legged kind. Working side by side with people who share similar interests can forge lifelong friendships.
- Meet the new you. You'll discover skills you never knew you had, and you may be surprised at what you're capable of achieving.
- Gain a new career. You'll learn things that may lead you to the career or career change of your dreams. Employers and college admissions officers look favorably on time spent in volunteer service.
- Enjoy a wagging tail, a purr, and a smile. Didn't someone once say that the best things in life are free?
Volunteer Opportunities - Brampton Animal Services is always accepting volunteers, however, you must be 16 years of age or older to volunteer. You can call 905.458.5800 to book your appointment for an orientation.
The HOPE Fund was established in 2001 in an effort to raise money for sick and injured animals so they can be rehabilitated and adopted into loving forever homes. To date, the HOPE Fund has helped hundreds of animals, which have included animals that have been hit by cars, in need of X-rays, leg amputations, medications, and many other surgeries and treatments.
Our loving and loyal pets spend all their time thinking of new and wonderful ways to please us, their humans. It is our duty to give back to those furry friends. (And not so furry friends) Lets all work together to stop animal abuse. Let’s empty our shelters by giving these wonderful beings, so full of love and affection, a safe home to live.