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Health Benefits of Animal Companionship

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Presentation on theme: "Health Benefits of Animal Companionship"— Presentation transcript:

1 Health Benefits of Animal Companionship
The many ways that pets help us to live better lives

2 Pets are Popular in the US
According to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association’s National Pet Owners Survey, 63 percent of all United States households have at least one pet. The total number of companion animals includes 74 million dogs and 90 million cats—the latter figure representing a five percent increase in feline ownership over the past four years. - source ASPCA e-news alert, 7/14/2005

3 People Love their Pets; Pets Love their Guardians
According to Vivi De Armas, PhD Clinical Psychologist: Pets help us because what they offer is

4 We ALL know about helper animals for physically disabled people . . .

5 BUT did you know that the government also authorizes emotional support animals for people with a different kind of disability?

6 Several federal laws protect the right of people with disabilities to have emotional support animals, even when there is a “no pets” policy: Fair Housing Amendments Act, 1988 Section 504, Rehabilitation Act, 1973 Americans with Disabilities Act, Title II State statues also apply.

7 Unfortunately you need a doctor’s letter to trump no pet rules.
If your doctor writes a letter saying that you need an animal companion to help and ameliorate life functions, no condo or HOA or trailer park governing board can deny you that right. If the board refuses to honor the doctor’s letter, they can be fined up to $10,000!

Support animals are legally not pets. They help people with disabilities by providing a service. Emotional support animals are used to ease symptoms.

9 Caution: If you are allowed to have a companion animals, you must be responsible It is not right for a few selfish people to make it difficult for the rest of us because they let animals loose, do not properly restrain their animals in public, or do not clean up feces.

10 Benefits of Animal Companionship
Pets can decrease your: Blood Pressure Cholesterol Levels Triglyceride Levels Feelings of Loneliness Source: Center for Disease Control (CDC)

11 More from the CDC Pets can increase your:
Opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities Opportunities for socialization

12 And there’s MORE shorter hospital stays and faster recoveries
reduced anxiety and depression reduced stress early warning system (seizures and heart attacks)

13 Stressed to the Hilt? Try the Furry Form of Valium
"A meow massages the heart." ~ Stuart McMillan "There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face." ~ Ben Williams

14 Medication is NOT the Only Answer to Treating Mental Illness
Research suggests that ...interaction with animals can be as effective or even more than drugs or conventional psychotherapy in treating mild to moderate depression.“ * "All medicines have benefits and risks. There may be other options."** *Natural Awakenings magazine, June 2006 **Detrol LA ads

15 V.S. 1) Mental illness is one most difficult illnesses to treat because the medications have to be pin-point accurate according to the patient's blood levels.  For example, lithium carbonate blood levels need to be kept within a safe range. High levels can cause serious side effects, even death; low levels can cause symptoms of mania or depression. There is no need to measure a correct dose of cat purrs or a dog licking your face! 2) Medications often have the directive:  "avoid driving a car or using other dangerous machinery until you know how lithium affects you.“ Pets don't affect how you drive or use machinery (assuming they are properly restrained in a car!) 3) If you are on more than one medication, the interaction can affect the all-important blood levels of psychoactive drugs. Companion animals do not interfere with blood levels of drugs!

16 The therapeutic use of pets as companions has gained increasing attention in recent years for a wide variety of patients - people with AIDS or cancer, the elderly, and the mentally ill.

17 quote from Health Guide (
“The evidence is in: pets help their owners stay healthy, happy, and independent. Pet owners are more active, whether they're taking a daily walk or just changing the litter box, than those who don't own pets. Caring for an animal can help lower your blood pressure, reduce stress, and even lengthen your life.”  

18 Florida Condo Associations are out of sync with the rest of the US.
63 percent of all United States households have at least one pet. 40 percent of all United States households have dogs (latest ASPCA pet statistics)

19 Why Zero (0)% in 55+ Housing?
Where did this attitude come from that seniors, a group which could probably MOST benefit from pet companionship, can’t have pets? Many seniors hide cats and small dogs inside their homes, following an all too human need – no pet laws or not.

20 Citizens for Pets in Condos has a proposal:
Allow home owners to keep pets in their privately-owned dwellings as long as owners are responsible for their pets. Only prosecute members/owners who fail to clean up after their pets in common areas, or fail to restrain them responsibly (e.g. in elevators), or fail to fix scratched or torn screens visible outside the units, or in any other way disturb the peace or cause bother or annoyance to other residents.

21 reasons for proposal #1)  Pet rules generally discriminate against seniors, which violates the intent of federal law. It is wrong to decide before the fact that seniors are unable or unwilling to properly care for pets.

22 reasons for proposal #2)  There are numerous ways pets have been shown to help keep their owners healthier.

23 #3) Pet rules are now unevenly enforced (which is illegal!)
reasons for proposal #3)  Pet rules are now unevenly enforced (which is illegal!) Dog owners are discriminated against more often than cat owners. Dogs can actually help prevent robberies.

24 reasons for proposal #4) It is a fact that, in spite of these pet rules, many people keep and hide pets in their privately owned dwellings. This fact implies that a lot of people would be relieved if pet rules were “lightened.”

25 reasons for proposal #5) Condo associations would have less expense fining and prosecuting people with pets.

26 reasons for proposal #6) People who don’t want pets around might be willing to bend if they knew that the law still required responsible pet ownership and that their community and peace would be unharmed.

27 reasons for proposal #7) Rules regarding pet ownership in condos and HOA-governed housing areas should be in line with rules in the city and state of residence. As long as other co-owners/co-residents are not adversely affected, unit owners should have no more and no fewer restrictions than others in the larger community.

28 Go to the Citizens for Pets in Condos Web Site
Read more about the health benefits of animal companions Read more about the LAW Read stories about pets and about people’s problems keeping their pets

29 Sign the online petition or
a paper petition here today.

30 Read More on this Topic:
The Healing Power of Pets: Harnessing the Ability of Pets to Make and Keep People Happy and Healthy by Marty Becker Therapy Pets: The Animal-Human Healing Partnership by Jacqueline J. Crawford  The Angel by My Side: The True Story of a Dog Who Saved a Man and a Man Who Saved a Dog by Mike Lingenfelter Animals as Teachers and Healers by Susan Chernak McElroy My Cat Saved My Life by Phillip Schreibman Reflections of the Heart: What Our Animal Companions Tell Us by Deborah DeMoss Smith

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