Do you know how much people love their animals? So much! Do you know how we know? We know because I have seen how people let their pets hog the bed, enjoy their last bite of pizza, steal their spot on the couch, and even let them lick their mouths! Not to mention people love their pets so much they are even willing to walk around carrying little plastic bags just in case they need to “clean up” after them. And it’s not just other people who love their pets, it could also be you and it’s definitely us at The Wellness Center. We love pets so much and believe so strongly that pets can truly increase people’s wellbeing that we dedicate a special day each year to raise funds for our local shelter.

This Saturday, September 15th at 10 am at The Wellness Center we will host our 8th Annual Wiggle and Whiskers Zumba® event to raise money and supplies that will support our local Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Shelter. One hundred percent of all money that is donated goes directly to the shelter and so will all the donated food, cleaning supplies and more. But why? Because pets make people happier and happy people tend to be healthier.

It’s now no secret that we love our pets. In fact, so many people love their pets so much that they’re willing to spend whatever it takes to keep them happy, healthy and well fed. In 2016 Americans alone spent over 66.75 BILLION dollars on their pets, making our pets some of our most treasured possessions. But why do we do this? Why do we get caught walking our dogs in our pajamas, or running to the store at all hours to pick up a can of cat food or litter?

We do this because our pets offer us unconditional love, a listening ear, they never talk back, they keep the bed warm, they keep us active and they are just so cute. Pets really offer humans something that we can’t give each other and we think those things are what make such a huge difference in keeping people who have pets extra healthy.

If you have a dog, it needs exercise. What better exercise than taking your dog outside to sniff around! Just being a responsible pet parent can also turn your pet into your personal trainer. Instead of walking the same route every day, take your dog and yourself on new adventures. Try new locations, add in some hills, and try to go a little further each day. Dogs are great reasons to get in your steps every day and keep cardiovascular exercise a priority. While you are at it you may even start to lose weight or tone up too! What a great bonus.

Most pets love to give love. They want to be patted and dotted on. Sharing love with an animal actually helps humans not only lower their stress and blood pressure, but it also helps us to feel more loved as well. And as we said, happier people tend to be healthier because they have a brighter outlook on making their health a priority. “We found that pet owners, on average, were better off than non-owners, especially when they have a higher-quality relationship with their pets,” says pet researcher Allen R. McConnell, PhD. He’s a professor of psychology at Miami University. “What [makes] a meaningful relationship varies from person to person.”

If you have been thinking about adding a furry friend to your family we would encourage you to think about adopting. Not only will you perhaps find your new best friend, but you will be giving a pet a forever (or forever home) that they might not otherwise receive. If you love pets but you aren’t able to have any, volunteer at the shelter. You will get all the great benefits of having a pet, tons of exercise and all the love too!

Willie Morris is quoted sharing: “The dog of your boyhood teaches you a great deal about friendship, love and death. Old Skip dog was my brother. They had buried him under our elm tree, they said – yet this wasn’t totally true. For he really lay buried in my heart.” Our pets leave paw-prints on our hearts; they keep up happy and extra healthy. From being our therapists, our best friends and even personal trainers, pets are pawsitively great!