Forget ‘Obama Care’ – get a pet

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

While it is a noble goal, ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable healthcare is easier said than done. Whether the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature healthcare law, is the best – or even the only – option is strictly a matter of opinion.

On the other hand, research has determined – and nearly everyone who loves animals or has a pet agrees that pet ownership yields tremendous rewards. Over the years, well-publicized research has shown that owning companion animals – or simply interacting with them – lowers blood pressure, improves one’s mood, and reduces stress and anxiety. All of that aside, anyone who has contact with dogs, cats, and even horses, knows that simply being around them always makes a bad day better.

While dogs get most of the ink for their work as  service and therapy animals, cats are gaining recognition for their effectiveness as therapy animals, too.

As a former volunteer with two different therapeutic horseback riding programs, I can also say that the right program – and the right horse – can do wonders for children with physical, emotional and learning difficulties. Equine therapy is also said to benefit adults with similar issues, but I haven’t witnessed that myself.

Now it seems that in addition to the psychological and physical benefits associated with our interactions with domestic animals, there is a financial one, as well. In a recent opinion piece on, Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of the American Humane Association, cites a new study linking pet ownership with healthcare savings. Specifically, the study shows that pet owners make fewer trips to the doctor than those who don’t have animals, and that people who walk their dogs often are less likely to be significantly overweight than people who don’t have pets.

That’s awesome news, but to be honest it doesn’t really surprise me.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
Eli reading.

I got my first cat, Tiger, when I was 10 and had her for 17 years. After Tiger died at age 20, I got Heals (named after the former NHL goaltender Glenn Healy) and had her for 11 years. Now I’ve got Eli, who just turned 10 on New Years Day. I adopted him from the Fauquier SPCA when  I lived in Virginia and we’ve been together for almost eight years.

In addition to being In Brief Legal Writing Services official mascot, Eli is my best friend, confidant and therapist. Being the strong, silent type, he’s a great listener. He gives wonderful hugs. He doesn’t complain when I cry on his shoulder, even though he hates getting wet. He’s a great hunter. He provides unconditional love in exchange for a warm place to sleep, a clean litter box, access to our deck, and two meals per day (plus snacks). Sure he bites me every once in a while. But hey, nobody’s perfect.