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6 Reasons to Give Thanks for Your Pet

By: Virginia Wells

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Thanksgiving will soon be here – a time for family, food and football and the day set aside to give thanks for our blessings. Although world events may try to interfere with our feelings of thankfulness, it's necessary that we focus on all things good, and as always, what your pets add to your lives is good. Here are six reasons why you should be thankful for your pet:

Love. If there's one thing you know, it's that your pet loves you. And if you love your pet, that love comes back to you tenfold. Almost all pets show happiness when you arrive home. Your dog's most enthusiastic face-licking moment of the day is when you walk through the front door – even if you've just been to the mailbox. Your cat's enthusiasm may be more subtle, but even the fact that he is in the same room with you for a change really says something. Your bird chirps, your ferret comes alive and your fish swim to your side of the aquarium. All because they love you.

Companionship. Your pet keeps you company, and that company helps you to feel less lonely and isolated, especially if you live alone. Coming home to your pet gives you something to look forward to. As an added benefit, if you leash up your dog or cat and stroll through the neighborhood, more than likely someone will talk to you. Studies have shown that people walking with a dog talk to new people far more often than if the dog wasn't with them.

Physical contact. When your purring cat sits cuddled in your lap, all is right with the world. This goes for your pet bird perching on your shoulder, your puppy licking your face and your horse nuzzling you as you stroke his mane. Studies prove that cuddling and stroking your pet is good for you; it makes you calmer and can even lower your heart rate and your blood pressure.

Someone to talk to. Talking things out relieves a lot of internal pressure. But having someone to talk to makes a difference, too. It makes you feel less lonely. Talk about anything – your pet will listen. Even better, he won't disagree, interrupt or tell anyone your secrets. And maybe by talking things out, you may come up with your own solutions.

Motivation to exercise. Most pets need exercise every day. Whether it's walking your dog, riding your horse or playing with your cat, you'll be getting some exercise, too. Physical exercise helps you to deal with stress and sometimes gives you the opportunity to get outside and breathe some fresh air.

Security. Some pets promote a feeling of safety. Your dog barks when he hears or smells something out of the ordinary, and your cat wakes you if there is smoke in the house. But sometimes just having your pet nearby is enough to make you feel less anxious and more secure.

This Thanksgiving as we gather together to give thanks for our blessings, lets not forget our pets, those faithful companions that are such an important part of our lives.

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