It always amazes me how we tolerate little annoyances from our pets that we would never tolerate from our spouse or another human.
If my wife edges to my side of the bed while asleep, I’ll nudge her back– yet I become a contortionist, even to the point of being uncomfortable, to avoid disturbing Torrey, my tiny Chihuahua! But I suppose that’s just how pet lovers and pet insurance enthusiasts behave with their pets.
Why do we yield to our animals this way? Torrey, short for “little Tornado,” hogs the bed, snores, insists on me petting her at inconvenient times and generally dictates what I should do and when I should do it. Even when I grow annoyed at her demands, she keeps insisting, and I end up complying.
I think the reason I do so much for this little dog is because she provides so much joy and devotion, and really asks for very little in return. There’s something about Torrey that makes me turn into a ball of mush. Unlike some of my other dogs that are friendly to pretty much anyone, Torrey’s devotion to me is unwavering and she will rarely allow anyone else to come near her. So what is it that draws us to our pets despite their idiosyncrasy? And why do we indulge them and never feel any guilt for these indulgence?
I think the answer is simple. It’s a biological feedback system built into our body chemistry over the eons. Domesticated animals, most especially dogs and cats, have become linked to us through internal chemical feedback mechanisms that not only make us feel better, but actually improve our health and well being. Certain hormones, neurotransmitters and chemicals in our body react in a positive fashion when we interact with our pets.
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Although a good majority of the scientific studies that measure chemicals, hormones and neurotransmitters before and after a quiet interaction with dogs, it’s reasonable to assume from anecdotal evidence and observations that the same would be true of other pets– like cats, horses and birds. We’re even quite capable of forging strong bonds with unusual critters.
The positive biological and emotional impact of pets on humans is irrefutable. A few of the positive changes that have been reported to occur when humans pet a dog or cat include:
1. Decreased blood pressure
2. Decrease in stress hormones
3. Elevation in feel-good hormones
4. Elevation in anti-depressant chemicals
5. Diminished loneliness
6. Increased feelings of companionship
7. Increased feelings of security
These are only a few of the many positive benefits of humans interacting with animals. In some cases, having a pet can even be comparable or better than prescribed medication, as medication can have unintended consequences and side affects to us biologically, many of which can be negative.
So, in a nutshell, my feelings and tolerance and adoration for my pets, especially “Torrey Baby” is just as biological as it is emotional.
To learn more about pet health and behavior, visit Pets Best Insurance today!