old dog blue truck

Adopting a dog or cat can mean companionship, sure…but did you know that bringing a pet into your home can mean health benefits, too?

It’s true! According to the CDC, having a pet can decrease your blood pressure, and your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Pets can also increase your tendency to go out, make friends, and get exercise. (Of course, this is more true for dogs than cats. While some people have luck walking their cats on a leash, my Max would never allow a harness within 10 feet of him).

The benefits of owning a pet can go even further than this, especially if you have kids.

Just this morning I saw this amazing and inspiring video about the noticeable effect of a puppy on a little boy with Muscular Dystrophy.

Physical benefits aside, having a pet can make a difference in other ways. A dog can help to teach your kids more than just responsibility. A dog can help to teach your kids how to read. No, seriously!

From this CNN article:

It sounds implausible. After all, dogs can’t read. How could they possibly help someone learn a skill that they themselves can’t grasp? But it’s a growing trend, and it seems to be working.

The philosophy is simple. Children who are just learning to read often feel judged or intimidated by classmates and adults. But reading to a dog isn’t so scary. It won’t judge, it won’t get impatient, it won’t laugh or correct if the child makes a mistake. In a nutshell, dogs are simply excellent listeners. And for shy kids or slow readers, that can make all the difference.”

When you’re considering what kind of pet to adopt, most people want a cute puppy or kitten. And young pets are awesome, no doubt. It doesn’t get much cuter! But older pets can be equally if not even more awesome.

Here’s why — you probably won’t have to deal with training issues, with an older pet. Click here to watch an amazing video by Petfinder highlighting the pluses of adopting an older pet.

This month’s Afrobella Animals are older and would make great additions to your life.

Rose is a 4 and a half year old Border Collie with gorgeous copper-chocolate colored fur and soulful eyes. She’s available in Huntley, IL – click here to get her details.

And Bill Clinton is an orange striped tabby cat in Miami. (Tee hee!) He’s available at Miami-Dade Animal Services.

Do you own an older pet? Or had an older pet who made a difference in your life? Tell me about him! I love hearing your stories!



Phyrra says:
November 17, 2009, 6:57 pm
Several years ago, I adopted 2 Birman cats, one 7 and the other 9 years old. People thought I was crazy to adopt older pets, but as pretty much every pet I'd had in my life at that point had been adopted, I didn't mind. It was a wonderful experience. The 7 year old, Baby, lived to be 11 and then she had kidney failure, and that was extremely hard. The 9 year old lived to be 15.5 and just passed away this January at the same time that I lost one of my grandmothers. Quasar's body basically started shutting down, and she could no longer eat, drink, or poop. She had been on a decline for 3 months where I kept taking her to the vet to get her IV fluids and to try and revive her. While it hurt to lose my cats, I still have a lot of wonderful, loving memories of both of them. I definitely think that adopting an older pet may not be for everyone, but it can be rewarding.
Joy says:
November 17, 2009, 10:22 pm
Thank you so much for this post! I have a friend who has a schnauzer named Buddy that he has to give away because his apartment complex won't allow it. I really want to take it in but my parents are not for pets, my mom is scared of dogs, and they think they're too messy and costly and whatever. But honestly, I think this dog would be a great addition to the family (we have a pretty big family too!). Thanks again!
Nana says:
November 17, 2009, 11:43 pm
Afrobella, this post was so great. Eight years ago I moved to Washington, DC for graduate school and after the first month I was lonely and stressed. I was living in a studio apartment and didn't want a human roommate, but I wanted some companionship. I went to the Washington Animal Rescue League and found my kitty Fiji. Fiji had been in the shelter for a while because he only has one eye and no one wanted to take him home. Fiji is one of the best things that has happened to me. He got me through three years of law school, the stress of the bar exam, the harrowing quest to find work, meeting and then marrying my husband and all of the ups and downs of the past eight years. I cannot tell people what a joy it is to have a pet who will give you love no matter what is going on in our life. I would also encourage anyone who wants to adopt to go to their local shelter. There are so many wonderful animals who need some love and a good home.
kiasonghay says:
November 17, 2009, 11:57 pm
When I adopted my dog they estimated that he was about 2 years old. A former stray, he was already completely housebroken and knew how to do some tricks. I've never been able to housebreak a dog so this was such a blessing. Now, 5 years later, my dog is my baby! Boyfriends come and go. Friends come and go, but my Chi is always there. He is loyal, loving, active, and cute. Shelter pets are awesome!
d says:
November 19, 2009, 2:54 am
I took in two, five year-old cats when my neighbor moved and coundn't take them. They are brother and sister and I love them both so much! They have distinct personalities, they were both spayed and neutered, and the use the bathroom outside (no kitty-litter box!). They accepted me with no problem because I used to play with them and love them when my neighbors were still here. Sister had abandonment issues and had a harder time adjusting than her brother. Brother is more of on outdoor cat and sister likes to sleep with me at night. They are my babies and I'm happy they're with me. They keep me in check and are a substitute for the kids I don't have. Brother and sister aren't my cats' real names but their names are obvious.
Purple says:
November 20, 2009, 10:55 am
Dogs have also been shown to help asthmatic kids recover faster.
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August 29, 2014, 4:21 am
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