Monday, February 10, 2014

Why do people keep pets?

People love to keep pets, and that’s the fact. Why, and for what reason do people care about domestic animals which bring no practical use such as, for example, other kinds of domestic animals like working animals, sport animals, laboratory animals and livestock do? The reasons for keeping pets at home can be the following:
The first reason for keeping a pet is replacing a child, physically, emotionally, or both. In developed countries like United States, people in common no longer feel themselves responsible enough to have a child whether financially or emotionally; however psychologically people, as well all the animals of the World, are programmed by nature to have one. According to hundreds of reviews, questionnaires, interviews and independent researches, more and more people tend to refuse having their own child. In addition to that, most of the population can afford having a pet. According to statistics, only in United States in 2013 the popularity of pets outnumbered children four to one. This number can be proved to not being false by some facts from everyday life. For example, there used to be two children’s playgrounds in South End district of Boston, one of which is turned into a playground for dogs now. More and more shops and veterinarian clinics were opened around the World, and from 2001 to 2012 this number increased significantly, which again can be easily seen on the example of any city.
Second reason for keeping a domestic animal for company is stress, and a desire to get rid of or at least decrease it. Developed by common factors such as overwork, lack of sleep, endless rush, quarrels with family members and the most common, absence of a person who is always ready to support, calm down and talk in a friendly, supportive way,  generally, lack of love cause people to switch to animals. What is more, small domestic animals such as dogs, or big ones such as horses, are famous for their ability to spend leisure time with humans actively.
The final top reason for people to keep pets can be animal-assisted therapy. This item can be similar to the previous one in some points; however therapy implies a situation when a person, such as blind or a wheelchair user, needs a pet-guardian for some physical help, so this kind of therapy involves animal as a kind of treatment, and as it is said in Wikipedia, with the goal to improve patient’s social, emotional or cognitive functioning.
To cope with all these problems, people find the best choice in buying or taking small domestic animals. Now let’s review the ways how it really helps.
From the medical point of view, animalotherapy (how it is also called) helps people to increase the quality of their mental and physical health. It was always known that common physical condition of a person strictly depends on emotional. To illustrate, let’s take an elderly woman who suffers from high blood pressure. She lives with her grandchildren and is very emotional about their success in college, which causes it. The doctor can prescript that woman buying a cat, as long as treatment with chemical drugs. Cats, as it is known, are responsible for decreasing the blood pressure. The reason for that is person, a cat keeper, pays much of his attention for communicating emotionally with cat, feeds it, plays with it, just lives one life with it. A retired woman, who was our example before, will do that, and as a result will get a calmer life, lower blood pressure, high quality of health, longer and more active lifetime. She will no longer feel so nervous her grandchildren’s college life, because a new friend will take much of her time. The same effect is observed from keeping fishes, because fishes live in water, which makes people calm down, as long as dolphin therapy, which includes swimming in one pool with dolphins.
The second general effect of pet therapy on a patient is diagnostics and elimination of different mental disorders, such as anxiety, mood disorders, stabilization of general condition. To support this statement, let’s refer to some statistics. According to Psychiatric Services magazine, and more exactly, its article “The Effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy on Anxiety Ratings of Hospitalized Psychiatric Patients” by Sandra B. Barker and Kathryn S. Dawson, June 1, 1998, which has a short conclusion, “Animal-assisted therapy was associated with reduced state anxiety levels for hospitalized patients with a variety of psychiatric diagnoses, while a routine therapeutic recreation session was associated with reduced levels only for patients with mood disorders.” This statement illustrates the affect of pet-therapy on hospitalized people with serious mental disorders. If such people could be easily returned to a calmer state with the support of animals, this affect would increases a lot if it is used to a normal people, not patients of psychiatric clinic, who also might have some disorders, not so serious, but affecting their routine a lot.
The final result which keeping a pet gives is the easiest expression of love. Not depending of a man’s personal behavior, character, mood, style of life, way of self-expression, position, ideas, religion and points of view, everybody need love. This statement, I hope, does not need any confirmations or examples to support it. At this point, I would say that first two effects of pet therapy are similar to this one, it would better to say, they follow from this one. But, having in mind that the situations of life are very different I would prefer to consider love as an individual effect of keeping a pet. To illustrate this effect, I will return to the first cause of having a pet. Let’s take a person with no children who, however, feels himself pretty lonely. Imagine that this particular person decided to have some kids, but since such a decision cannot be turned into life at once, animals in the house can help to cope with stress caused by such a loneliness.

I have my own cat, her name is Melissa. Before I took her from the shelter and was deciding to do that, my reason was a combination of first and second. I had no children, however I wanted to have some very much, so I felt myself very lonely and had to express my love on and take care of somebody in the house. I was affected by stress at school, so the importance of spending leisure time doing some calm activities was very big. I preferred a cat because a dog or some more exotic animal needs a lot of time, which I could not afford due to school; while cats need just a usual care like buying food and cleaning the toilet. As I lived in the city, Melissa had a completely indoor style of life, which made things easier. As a result, my stress level decreased, I became more cheerful and successful in school, in one word, more energetic and I got the love I wanted to get: Melissa got used to me, and trusted me not only as a master, but as her friend by enjoying to spend time with me. I could easily feel how glad she was when I returned home from school every day. However my personal expectations of replacing children with a pet did not paid off, and I still want to have some, which is very good.

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