For Seniors, Pets Are More Than Pretty Faces     

(NAPSI)-To say that a pet can be an important part of a senior's life is no shaggy-dog story.

Dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and other companion animals are considered by many to be "members of the family." Many people talk to their pets, travel with them, buy them holiday gifts and even celebrate their birthdays.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that there are 65 million dogs and 77 million cats kept as pets in America-many by seniors.

According to Kelly Connolly of the HSUS, animals can contribute to a senior's life in a number of ways.

Said Connolly, "By now just about everyone knows that an elderly person who has a companion animal in his or her life can expect to enjoy many physical and emotional benefits, including lower blood pressure, improved social skills, reduced stress and increased physical activity."

Older Americans can have a special bond with their pets, particularly if the senior lives alone or far from loved ones.

For example, adopting a dog was the last thing on Sadae Walters' mind five months after her stroke. She'd recently regained the mobility in her left arm, but her doctor said a dog would get her out walking more, while providing a living companion to nurture. A long search led her to Princess, a medium mixed breed from the Caroline County Humane Society.

Sadae and Princess bonded instantly. On just their second day together, Sadae tripped and fell. Princess immediately pressed close to her side, planting her legs and stiffening her body so that Sadae could reach around Princess's neck and pull herself up. Sadae calls Princess her "treasure," a sweet angel who has enriched her entire family's life.

In addition to their endearing qualities, some companion animals can also play important roles in their owners' lives as "service animals."

Service animals fall into two categories-assistance animals who are trained to provide a specific service, and therapy animals who interact with people in health care, social, educational and recreational settings. These are most commonly dogs and cats, but fish, birds, rabbits and other animals can also be used for service.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization, representing more than nine million members and constituents.

To learn more, visit the Web site at

Older Americans can have a special bond with their pets, particularly if the senior lives alone or far from loved ones.

Today's Senior Magazine - A senior magazine that provides important information, products and services for people fifty and over - today's senior!
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