Enrich Your Soul: Adopt a Pet

Are you part of the two thirds of Canadian or American households that have one or more pets? If so, consider yourself fortunate, as the health benefits of pet ownership are astounding: Rover, your beloved family dog, may extend your life expectancy! In fact, recent research from the University of Pennsylvania showed that among a group of seriously ill patients, only 6% of those who owned pets had died at the end of the study period, as opposed to 28% of non-pet owners.

Good for Your Heart and Soul

Rover offers you many other benefits—besides fetching your slippers and cleaning off your dinner plate. Pet owners typically have lower blood pressure, and stroking your pet’s soft fur is calming, both for you and him. Taking him for walks gets you moving and even socializing. Dog owners walk about 300 minutes per week. Widowed seniors in particular can benefit from the companionship of a pet. And pets can bring families together and teach children responsibility.

Incredibly, dogs can even detect cancer. Dogs have sniffed out skin, lung, bladder, and colon cancer. And British researchers have found that about a third of dogs display changes in behavior when their diabetic owners’ blood sugar drops. Your pup could save your life one day.


Thinking of adding a pet to your family? A pet is a lot of responsibility, but with this responsibility comes rich rewards. Some things to consider before choosing a pet include:

  • If there are any allergies in the family (if so, consider a turtle or fish)
  • How much time you have to care for the pet (dogs require training and daily walks)
  • If you travel frequently, who will care for the pet?
  • If you have young children, what type of animal or breed would be best around youngsters?
  • What is the cost of food, veterinary bills, and any medications your pet may require?

If it’s time to add a pet to your family, there are many wonderful animals at your local OSPCA or ASPCA. Many pets are euthanized or die in gas chambers everyday, even puppies and kittens Please consider adopting a pet instead of purchasing one through a breeder. Teach your children about how to care for the animal. Show them how to clean litter boxes, groom, and hold the pet. If you pick the right animal you will add a loving and longtime member to your family.