Tag Archives: pet ownership

Doctors believe in the health benefits of pet ownership

DogDoctor

The Human-Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation has released the findings of a survey revealing the views of the family physician (also known as the GP) on the benefits of pets to health.

An online panel survey of 1,000 family doctors and general practitioners explored the doctors’ knowledge, attitudes and behavior regarding the human health benefits of pets.  The 28-question survey was conducted in August 2014 with a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.   The physicians in the survey had a median of 18 years in professional practice.

Key findings included:

  • 69% of doctors have worked with animals in a hospital, medical center or medical practice to assist patient treatment
  • 88% believe that interaction with pets improves a patient’s physical condition
  • 97% believe that interaction with pets improves mental health condition
  • 78% found that interaction with animals helped to improve the relationships of patients with staff
  • 97% of doctors reported that they believe there were health benefits resulting from pet ownership
  • 75% of doctors said they saw health improve in one or more patients as a result of pet ownership

The survey also revealed that while 69% of doctors at least occasionally discussed the health benefits of pets with patients, 56% identified ‘time constraints’ as the largest barrier to having these discussions.

“The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative funds research on the evidence-based health benefits on human-animal interaction, and this survey demonstrates that we are on the right track” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman.

“HABRI hopes that this survey will help break down the barriers and get more doctors and their patients talking about the important, scientifically-validated health benefits of pets.”

Source:  HABRI media release

Pope Francis, with respect, you’ve got it wrong

I was warming up to Pope Francis and his papacy until last week.  Vatican Radio reported that fifteen couples, with between 25 and 60 years’ experience in marriage, were in attendance to hear the Pope decree that part of their duties were to abide by fruitfulness – that is to have children.  He said:

“These marriages, in which the spouses do not want children, in which the spouses want to remain without fertility. This culture of well-being from ten years ago convinced us: ‘It’s better not to have children! It’s better! You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be care-free…it might be better – more comfortable – to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or is this not? Have you seen it? Then, in the end this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness. It is not fruitful, it does not do what Jesus does with his Church: He makes His Church fruitful.”

Pope Francis

Pope Francis seemed to be warming to the role of dogs in our lives with the blessing last year of a guide dog owned by a visually-impaired radio journalist…

Photo by:  ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

Photo by: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

…and he welcomed the dog of a homeless man into his birthday celebrations.

But this latest directive is a step backwards.  I think in a world that is overpopulated by humans, this attitude is misguided.  There are many people (some with, and some without, children) who devote their lives to the care of God’s creatures.  We should not pass judgment on their life choices.

 

Furry friends with benefits

Research conducted at Case Western Reserve University has revealed the positive impact that pet ownership has on women who are managing HIV/AIDS.

Dr Allison Webel set out to understand how women manage their HIV/AIDS and stay on track to take their medications, follow doctors’ orders and live healthy lifestyles.  She found that “Pets—primarily dogs—gave these women a sense of support and pleasure.”

The human and animal bond in healing and therapy is being recognized, Webel said, as more animals are visiting nursing homes to connect to people with dementia or hospitals to visit children with long hospital stays.

Dr Webel talks about her research in this YouTube video: