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Family & Relationships

6 Reasons Adopting a Pet May Be a Game Changer

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“Animals are such agreeable friends,” said the author, George Eliot. “They ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.”

Of course, anyone who’s ever had a pet knows they offer far more than non-judgement. They can be  loyal companions, soft bedfellows and enthusiastic greeters. Plus, they may even have health benefits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pets may help decrease blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride levels and feelings of loneliness.1 And they’re just so darn cute!

If you’re able, here are a few reasons to consider adopting—or fostering—a pet.   

It may take the edge off loneliness. Maybe you’re living alone. Perhaps you have a partner or family living there. Regardless, there’s nothing quite like the over-the-moon excitement of a dog when its owner returns home. Tail wagging, trotting around the room, spinning in circles—and all you had to do was open the door! Cats and other animals tend to be a bit more reserved, but still grateful for your presence. Just having the little creatures at your feet makes a house seem more warm and welcoming. And when you’re feeling down, there’s nothing quite like a devoted face-lick or purring snuggle.  

Some pets may help increase your exercise. No more excuses! When the dog needs to go, the dog needs to go. That pup is your ticket to upping your step count as you explore the neighborhood, leash in hand.

You’ll experience unconditional love. Your dog and cat aren’t annoyed by politics or differing opinions. They’re not worried about the stock market going down or property taxes going up or what they’re going to have for dinner. They’re not thinking about the past and what could have been. Animals can teach us a valuable lesson about living in the moment and being present. Give them a belly rub or a scratch behind the ears and you’ll see gratitude in action. There’s something incredibly rewarding and mood-lifting about their unconditional love. Plus, it’s likely a pet will add a few laughs to your day.

You may help save a life. If you’ve been looking for a way to help out those in need, offering to adopt or foster a rescued animal could make an impact. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 6.5 million cats and dogs enter U.S. animal shelters each year.2 By rescuing an animal, you’re giving the pet a shot at a happy home and happy life.  

It's an excuse to explore and connect with the community. Walking the dog isn’t just good for your heart—it may be good for your social life. With a regular walking routine, you may get to know neighbors or dog-park-goers you’ve never met before. Also, striking up conversations on the street can be quite easy with other pet owners and pet lovers. You may find connections to your own community that you didn’t know existed.

Senior pets need love too. One concern that older adults voice when it comes to adopting a pet is they’re worried about a long-term commitment. But your new pet doesn’t have to be a puppy or kitten. Senior pets need love, too! In fact, November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month. An older dog or cat may be more mellow and less demanding when it comes to physical exercise and attention. And we all know how important love is, at any age.

Considering adding a pet to your family? What kind of animal would be the best fit for your lifestyle? 


  1. Centers for Disease Control, Healthy Pets Healthy People

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