Why the Human-Animal Bond Is So Important

They Save Lives

Nearly every week, if not more often, I see news stories about pets who have saved people’s lives. They defend children from snakes, keep lost or injured people warm, bark an alarm to neighbors or alert people to fires. I could go on and on.

On New Year’s Eve, a man named Bob slipped and fell while outdoors, breaking his neck. His Golden Retriever, Kelsey, came to the rescue, keeping Bob warm in the frigid 24-degree weather by lying on him as well as barking for hours until help finally arrived. Bob survived, thanks to the bond between himself and his dog.

Pam Bartel of Portland, Oregon, credits her late cat, Spaghetti, with helping her fight back against anxiety, depression and the pain of fibromyalgia. At one point she considered suicide, but Spaghetti’s love and loyalty kept her going.

Pets like Kelsey and Spaghetti and the countless others who share our lives can help us connect with others in what is sometimes a scary or lonely world. The bond is so real that the American Veterinary Medical Association officially recognizes that it has major significance for veterinary medicine and notes its importance to pet owner and community health.

Pets! They’re good medicine.

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