Tamarapu Sampath Kumaran

About the Author: Mr T Sampath Kumaran is a freelance writer. He regularly contributes articles on Management, Business, Ancient Temples, and Temple Architecture to many leading Dailies and Magazines. His articles are popular in “The Young World section” of THE HINDU His e-books on nature, environment and different cultures of people around the world are educative and of special interest to the young. He was associated in the production of two Documentary films on Nava Tirupathi Temples, and Tirukkurungudi Temple in Tamilnadu.

Acknowledgement: I wish to express my gratitude to the authors from whose works I gathered the details for this book, and Courtesy, Google for the photographs.

Lots of people like to have pets. Most common are dog cat and fish. In smaller numbers are birds, horses, hamsters, reptiles and a variety of other animals. The medical community is learning from these pet owners. They are noticing that the companionship of the animals affects us on 4 primary levels - physical, social, emotional and cognitive. These affects can lead to a number of health and life benefits. For seniors, a pet can fulfill their need to care for others, create a sense of purpose and offer a relationship based on unconditional love. They can also help their owners feel valued, especially when the humans in their life ignore them due to priorities of their work or consider them a burden A pet can have positive effects on its senior owner. Here are a few of the potential benefits.
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Lower blood pressure and reduce stress. Decrease feelings of loneliness, isolation and depression. Lead to more social contacts and open the door to making new friends. Create movement and increase exercise. Visit the doctor less often and take less amounts of medications. Offer unconditional love and daily doses of affection. Offer a sense of security. Help to deal with the loss of a spouse and other loved ones.

Research has shown that owning a pet can have measurable health benefits. International research has shown that adults and children are more relaxed in the presence of a friendly dog and that pet owners suffer less minor health problems such as headaches, backaches, colds and flue, insomnia and general tiredness than non pet owners. Medical research in Australia has found that pet owners have a lower risk of heart attack, having lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and lower triglyceride fats in their blood than non pet owners. Pets provide an outward focus and decrease the emphasis on personal problems. Kids and Pets: We surround our children with images of animals from the day they are born. We decorate nurseries with stuffed puppies and penguins and hang mobiles with dangling bears and bunnies over cribs. There are animals on the wallpaper - sometimes we even paint animal murals. And, later on, we want the kids to experience the joys of having a real animal in the house to grow up with.

Animals and children do have a special relationship. They always want to tell you about their best friend, be it a dog, a cat, a guinea pig, or a goldfish. For many children, their pets are like siblings. They are always there, which can make a latchkey kid feel not so alone coming into an empty house after school. While little children are too young to worry about preventing stress or lowering health care costs, there are numerous benefits they can experience from having a family pet.

Keeping pets is an excellent way for children to learn about responsibility, as well as helping them to develop a kind, caring attitude towards both animals and people - in theory. The reality is that is can be a bit of trial and error while the child learns about the animal and how to live with it. A pet is a household animal kept for companionship and a person's enjoyment, as opposed to wild animals or to livestock, which are kept for economic or productive reasons. The most popular pets are noted for their loyal or playful characteristics, for their attractive appearance, or for their song. Pets also generally seem to provide their owners with non-trivial health benefits; keeping pets has been shown to help relieve stress to those who like having animals around. There is now a medically-approved class of "therapy animals," mostly dogs, that are brought to visit confined humans. Walking a dog can provide both the owner and the dog with exercise, fresh air, and social interaction. The most popular pets are dogs and cats, but there are also rodent pets, such as gerbils, hamsters, chinchillas, fancy rats, and guinea pigs, and avian pets, such as canaries, parakeets, or parrots.

Pets, whether a dog, cat, bird,hamster, reptile or fish, help children gain a sense of independence that can set them on the path to becoming mature, responsible adults. Pets Teach Kids To Be Responsible Children can learn the importance of responsibility at an early age by acting as a caretaker for a pet.

Fish are a terrific first pet because children can play a large role in caring for them. However, other pets that require more attention, like a cat or dog, can present an ideal opportunity for parent and child to bond while caring for the pet together. Showing children what it means to be responsible for another creature's survival can result in teaching important life lessons such as discipline, patience, kindness and attentiveness. Pets Can Help Kids Develop Discipline

Walking the dog, feeding the guinea pig and

talking to the parrot can serve as fun study breaks for kids, and a replacement for television programs and video games. These pet-related activities help children remain focused on the task at hand, and are less likely to become distractions that will prevent homework and chores from being completed. Pets Prepare Kids For Life Situations Bringing a pet home and into the family can be an effective way to help prepare children for real life scenarios. For example, pets can ease the transition of suddenly having to share mom and dad's attention with a new brother or sister by demonstrating how much fun new playmates can be, as well as what is involved in caring for another.

And where humans sometimes fail, dogs and cats are often time successful in cutting through the barriers that isolate people with physical and/or emotional disabilities. Companion pets can help patients by: •Increasing their desire to communicate •Decreasing their need for pain medication in some post-operative patients •Increasing their willingness to interact with other patients and/or hospital staff Thinking of ways to reduce stress in life, usually techniques like meditation, yoga and journaling come to mind. These are great techniques, to be sure. But getting a new best friend can also have many stress relieving and health benefits. While friends provide great social support and come with some fabulous benefits, pets can provide excellent social support, stress relief and

other health benefits—perhaps more than people! Here are more health benefits of pets: Pets Can Improve Your Mood: For those who love animals, it’s virtually impossible to stay in a bad mood when a pair of loving puppy eyes meets yours, or when a super-soft cat rubs up against your hand. Research supports the mood-enhancing benefits of pets. A recent study found that men with AIDS were less likely to suffer from depression if they owned a pet. According to researchers, men with AIDS who did not own a pet were about three times more likely to report symptoms of depression than men who did not have AIDS. But men with AIDS who had pets were only about 50 percent more likely to report symptoms of depression, as compared to men in the study who did not have AIDS. Pets Control Blood Pressure Better Than Drugs: Yes, it’s true. While ACE inhibiting drugs can generally reduce blood pressure, they aren’t as effective on controlling spikes in blood pressure due to stress and tension. However, in a recent study, groups of hypertensive New York stockbrokers who got dogs or cats were found to have lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who didn’t get pets. When they heard of the results, most of those in the non-pet group went out and got pets! Pets Encourage one To Get Out And Exercise

Whether we walk our dogs because they need it, or are more likely to enjoy a walk when we have companionship, dog owners do spend more time walking than non-pet owners, at least if we live in an urban setting. Because exercise is good for stress management and overall health, owning a dog can be credited with increasing these benefits. Pets Can Help With Social Support: When we’re out walking, having a dog with us can make us more approachable and give people a reason to stop and talk, thereby increasing the number of people we meet, giving us an opportunity to increase our network of friends and acquaintances, which also has great stress management benefits. Pets Stave Off Loneliness and Provide Unconditional Love: Pets can be there for you in ways that people can’t. They can offer love and companionship, and can also enjoy comfortable silences, keep secrets and are excellent snugglers. And they could be the best antidote to loneliness. In fact, research show that nursing home residents reported less loneliness when visited by dogs than when they spent time with other people! All these benefits can reduce the amount of stress people experience in response to feelings of social isolation and lack of social support from people. Pets Can Reduce Stress—Sometimes More Than People: While we all know the power of talking about your problems with a good friend who’s also a good listener, recent research shows that spending time with a pet may be even better! Research shows that, when conducting a task that’s stressful, people actually experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a supportive friend or even their spouse was present! Owning pets will also add additional responsibility It’s important to realize that owning a pet isn’t for everyone. Pets do come with additional work and responsibility, which can bring its own stress. However, for most people, the benefits of having a pet outweigh the drawbacks. Having a furry best friend can reduce stress in your life and bring you support when times get tough.

In every situation of our lives, we always want to ensure somebody cares for us. Due to differences in our activities, we tend to be apart from each other. Primarily due to work, mothers and fathers rarely see their kids. For some adults, having a personal problems is really a pain as there are no companions to lean on. It is a good thing, man learned to find a companion through pets. A loyal friend deserves tap in the back

Especially dogs, pets can be the most loyal friend we can ever have. If treated well, domesticated pets can be a loyal companion to us. You will fee that they seem to have feelings of affections towards us. Thus, the feeling of sympathy can be obtained from them when we are at our lowest ebb. It is our responsibility therefore to give back the goodness their presence bring. We feel good when we are recognized of our good deeds. Our pets need the same recognition when doing things we want them to do or when simply doing us favors. This requires that you know what your pet wants in return. A simple body scrub instantly given is one example of recognition. It doesn't have to be expensive but you have to ensure that it is appreciative. It works with us; it will work with our pets. Providing the basics Just like humans, our pets have their basic needs. There are 3 basic necessities which should be provided pet owners. These are food, shelter and medical attention. You can't just give your pets your food left overs. There are food especially formulated for their needs. Your pet should also have a space at home in order to get enough rest. Most importantly, medical attention should be given as due. Not only when they are sick but for

maintenance as well. These basic need when given to our pets will surely make your relationship smooth. Its their rights after all. But sometimes it's not that easy if you want to bring home a puppy or a kitten to raise alongside the kids. Not all animals are suitable for children as pets and unless you live on a farm, it is best to get a small animal and nothing too exotic! It is generally considered best to go for something that is low maintenance initially as it may well be you that takes on the bulk of the care anyway, at least until your children are up to speed with looking after their pet. Small pets, like rabbits, guinea pigs or mice are good as they are fairly contained, cheap to keep and entertaining. Hamsters are good too but they do tend to sleep a lot during the day and come out at night (they are actually desert creatures so they are following their instincts to come out in the cool and dark!). Dogs are good for companionship but they can be expensive to buy in the first place, unless you go the worthy route of re-homing a dog from a local rescue centre but then you are taking a risk that you don't know anything about their background, what temperament their parents had etc so may not make the best pet for a family with children. Always check with the staff for as full a background as possible and make sure you understand the temperament of the breed and how big they are likely to get if not fully grown yet. You'll also need to think about responsibility and costs. Do you have enough time to train, socialise, feed, groom, exercise and play with a dog? Or any pet, for that matter. Animals need food, toys, collars, and visits to the vet for proper vaccinations - can you afford it? And remember that pets will bring unexpected events - chewed and scratched furniture, fleas and behaviour issues that can have a negative impact on children for years. Be the best buddy The Golden Rule applies to all relationships including your pet. If you want to be treated well, you should treat your pets with respect. If you need company when you are lonely or when you are sick, they too need companion. There are times when they are left alone. These are the times

they get the feeling of loneliness. Make sure somebody looks after your pet in your absence. If you will be away for a trip or a vacation, you can leave your pet in a pet care shop or a neighbor. it will ensure that their basic needs are provided. There are a few questions to ask yourself about your family before you get an animal. Time, expense and space are all important considerations! And animals are unique, just like you. Here are some things to think about to make sure that both you and your new family member are happy: How much time do I have for a companion animal? All companion animals require time to take care of them. Dogs require a lot of time and exercise and play. Cats require time and attention, but they can enjoy time alone, too. It is important to realize that even rabbits, rats and guinea pigs need at least an hour of exercise each day. Fish may be a better companion for busy people, but even a fish is happier with interactions! Can I afford a companion animal? It can cost a lot to take care of an animal, which include food, veterinary care and the many other expenses involved in having a puppy…and that’s just for the first year! Older dogs don’t need as many vaccinations as puppies, but they may need dental cleanings and medications. Even a hamster or gerbil must have fresh food, bedding and an annual veterinary exam. Do I have room for a companion animal? If you live in a small home or apartment, a Saint Bernard is probably not the best companion animal for you! Maybe a smaller companion animal like a cat or small mammal might work well at your place. Adopting is a great lesson in compassion and commitment, but should never be used to teach children responsibility. A better idea is to make the care of your companion animal a family bonding experience by caring for him or her together. Many adults will love to bring their family together in this way! Adults will need to take overall responsibility for the animals and

should always supervise animal care to ensure the necessary jobs are done every single day. Some important considerations before adopting a pet You will need to establish some ground rules for your child about handling your pet. Here are a few basics: Do • • • •

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Worm cats and dogs, at appropriate intervals as worms can transfer to humans. Seek advice from your vet on this. Insist on good hand-washing following any handling of pets or pet excrement when cleaning out cages etc. Show your child how to approach and handle pets gently. Consult your vet about appropriate ways to handle young animals Plan special times when you, your child and your pet can play together to learn more about your pet's special needs, likes and dislikes Tell your child that their pet may not like the things they do - such as loud noises, rough play, or 'people' food. 'Human' chocolate, for instance, can be very harmful to dogs. Show your child that, like people, your pet needs to eat a proper diet daily Explain that your pet needs to exercise regularly Explain that your pet needs to go outside to go to the toilet (or use the litter box) Make sure your pet's toilet area is away from play areas and is effectively disinfected

Don't • • • •

Let pre-school children handle pets by themselves Allow your child to yell at or hit your pet - show consideration for your pet, and your child will imitate you Bother your pet when it is resting, sleeping, eating or playing alone with a toy - explain that pets need 'private' time too Let animals lick faces - it might be nice to have 'kisses', but when you consider what animals keep clean by licking, it isn't so good to let them lick your face as well..

If you follow these simple rules, your child should be able to build a lasting, loving relationship with your pet. If laughter is the best medicine, pets must be the second best elderly health care prescription. Pets provide unconditional love and acceptance which increases self esteem. Our pets are our friends, and most would describe them as part of the family.

They sleep in our beds, take us for walks, and bring a smile into our lives. The feelings that come with the loss of a pet may be intense, conflicting, confusing, and more. These feelings, however, are a normal part of the grieving process. The devotion and unconditional love of a pet are among the best things one can experience in life An interesting photograph shows pets adopting pets. This long-tailed Macaque monkey lives with his adoptive kitten in a forest in Bali.

they both think they're better together.

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