Pet ownership is a big responsibility, but it also comes with big benefits. Sharing your life with a pet can improve the body, mind and spirit. The ASPCA estimates there are approximately 7 million animals in shelters nationwide waiting for a home. If you’re ready to enjoy the rewards of pet guardianship, please consider adopting from your local shelter.

Did You Know?

A U.S. Department of Health study confirms that people who live with pets have lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels and are at a lower risk for heart attack. If they do suffer a heart attack, pet owners are four times more likley to recover people without pets.

In a survey of pet owners, the vast majority of senior respondents believed their pet positively affected their health and helped to lower stress levels.

Pets can improve your social life. Pet ownership provides a natural opportunity to meet other people who share a similar interest. Enroll your dog in an obedience class, visit the dog park or join an association that advocates for your type of pet, and you’ll widen your circle of friends while organically pursuing your own interests.

Pets can help ease depression and improve your mood. Studies by the Depression Research and Clinic Program confirm that along with treatment, pets can help those struggling with depression. Caring for an animal provides unconditional love, routine, responsibility, companionship and activity—all things that help improve depression.

Dog ownership can help you meet your fitness goals. Keeping your dog healthy means more walks and outdoor activities. Many pet owners find their dog’s need for exercise is the best motivation they’ve ever had for getting off the couch and onto the hiking trail.