Pets have always been an inseparable part of human lives since the earliest days of civilization. More than 50% of households across America have a bird, cat, dog, horse, or any other non-human companion.
It is said that living in the company of an animal enhances the quality of human life. This is particularly true for veterans. The comfort, loyalty, and constancy provided by a pet can be especially helpful for veterans enjoying a retired life or reintegrating into civilian life. If you are a veteran, there are many reasons for you to seriously consider adopting your own animal companion.
Mood Enhancement: Several studies have shown that the presence of pets can enhance our overall mental health and mood. They can help us significantly in combating stress, anxiety, and other chronic mental health concerns. Pets not only create a positive impact on our mental health, but they can also be extremely effective during a time of crisis. Veterans struggling with people around them or trying to adjust to civilian life after retirement can boost their mood and soothe their stress with the help of pets.
Physical Activity: The overall activity of individuals can be impacted significantly by pets, particularly by dogs. They have a desire to go outside and need to be walked regularly. Dogs can bring loads of energy to your life and this can help you remain motivated and maintain a fit body. Your pet dog can also be your companion for your favorite outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, camping, or hiking. This can be a great stress buster for any veteran. You can select the dog breed of your choice based on your most preferred hobbies.
Structure & Routine: Veterans often find civilian life to be utterly devoid of any routine. This is quite natural after leading a rigidly structured life for so many years. Having a pet around you can naturally bring back the same structure and routine in your life. As the pets need round the clock care and attending, this quietly brings about a level of routine to our otherwise fluid schedule.
Therapeutic Support: As a result of their past lives, many veterans suffer from PTSD or TBI. Interestingly, pets offer an alternative avenue for the treatment of these conditions in a gentle and effective manner. Recent studies indicate that many veterans have had their PTSD symptoms reduced significantly by service dogs.
Fights Stress: In addition to helping with specific mental conditions such as PTSD and TBI, pets can also be instrumental in relieving the overall stress in life. Transitioning to civilian life often involves several stressful situations for a veteran. Your pet can help you combat stress and remain calm in these circumstances.
Heart & Cardiovascular Health: The company of a pet also helps lead a long and disease-free life. According to the American Heart Association, several studies have found a correlation between pet ownership and healthy blood pressures. The association also believes that owning a dog may reduce the risk of heart-related diseases.
Cognitive Function: Over a period of time, pets can also help you with your cognitive functions. Dogs are believed to be particularly powerful agents of mental capability as well as stability. A recently conducted pet-human relationship study found that dog owners performed significantly better than others on a recognition memory test. As you get older, a canine companion can do wonders for your overall cognitive function and memory.
Companionship: Owning a pet makes people feel less lonely, and this is true not just for the veterans. However, veterans can benefit significantly from pet ownership because they often feel isolated and disconnected from the world around them.
The journey of a veteran towards acclimating to civilian life can certainly get easier in the presence of a pet. Before bringing home your new animal companion, don’t forget to check your options at Pet Parents.