Having pets has health benefits

Lynette Van Nostrand of Cumberland County can’t get enough of her animals — three dogs and two birds. She lives to give them TLC.

“Animals love unconditionally. They don’t care what you look like. They don’t care how much money you have. They don’t care about anything. The only thing they care about is companionship with them,” Van Nostrand said.

With Bella, Winston, and Lilly running around, there’s never a dull moment in the home. Lynette wouldn’t want it any other way.

“I can’t imagine not having them in my life,” she said.

But the trio does more than just provide companionship and plenty of noise. Studies show animals are good for us mentally, emotionally and physically.

“You have lower blood pressure. You have improved lab work in people who have pets,” veterinarian Dr. Laura Weis said. “You have longevity. You have an overall sense of happiness and well-being.”

How can our four-legged friends do so much for us? Weis says the secret is really simple: it all comes down to the power of touch.

“They are right beside us. Your cat might be sleeping on your lap. You are petting your dog and just that physical touch is enough to lower blood pressure and make us happier,” she said.

Weis says knowing we have to care for our furry friends is also beneficial. It’s something Lynette looks forward to, even at the end of a long and rough day.

“They wanna be with me. They can make me laugh when I’m crying about something. They know when I’m upset,” she said. “They are pure unconditional love.”

Pets are a big responsibility. They can also be expensive with vet bills. So take these things into consideration before you make that decision to get a pet.

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