Animals Make us Happier

Summer of 2015 I studied at Marist College for three weeks taking courses on Pre Law and gaining a college experience; I’m sure you could guess it wasn’t exactly the most stress free summer. Being that the students who were participating in this program were looking to earn college credits, we wscreen-shot-2016-10-20-at-7-22-55-pmere required to learn a semesters worth of one course within only three weeks. The one thing that motivated me to get through these long days and stressful tests were that I knew that at the end of every week, there would be puppies on the campus lawn for students to relieve their stress.

As crazy as it may sound, interacting with animals has the capability to reduce stress in humans. Among most animals on the planet, dogs have been conditioned to work and respond well to human behavior and emotion. In addition to their ability to comprehend words humans use with them, they are experts in making sense of our tone, particularly when trying to discipline or address something, physical body language, and connecting on an emotional level where they are able to interpret how we are feeling. Humans usually invest in pets for the pure sense of joy and companionship, however it has been proven that owning a dog can beneficially contribute to an owner’s physical and mental health. Science has 13250619-lovely-little-girl-hugging-pet-dog-with-passion-eyes-closed-1024x640explained that there is a strong emotional connection and exertion of feelings between humans and pets. The American Heart Association has done studies on this relationship, more specifically between humans and dogs, showing that humans are less at risk for heart disease and are more likely to live a longer life if owners of dogs.

Before doing this program at Marist I was never someone who would stop in the middle of the street to pet a dog but now I can’t help myself. No matter what it is, it instantly makes me feel better as silly as it sounds. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noticed all the dogs all over Penn State; I don’t think there has been a time that I don’t stop what I am doing and play with the dogs for at least five minutes.

7 thoughts on “Animals Make us Happier

  1. Dhaam Sakuntabhai

    It definitely does help me feel better each time I play with a dog. This actually made me think about how pets and baby might actually give us the same kind of feeling. This is because we always treat our dogs like it is a baby as we feel that its young no matter its age right? So i did further research and found this article talking about its similarities, hope you want to check it out: http://fitbottomedmamas.com/2011/02/puppies-and-babies-the-similarities-are-endless/

  2. lkr5215

    Hi . I personally did not know this and it has caused me to think differently on some things. Me personally i have never been a big fan of animals but seeing as they could help with my emotions it makes me interested in actually wanting to interact with animals. If it makes me happy then why not? im glad you did a blog on something such as animals informing people like me that they can actually make you happy.

  3. Greg Belluscio

    Hey Angela, I actually just wrote a blog post about how much pets can relieve stress. In short, a study was conducted where a group of high blood pressure patients were treated for their blood pressure and on top of that, some were given pets to care for. The result was that, when given a stress test, the patients with the pets had normal reactions to the stress test while the patients without pets jumped to pre-treatment conditions. Do you think there could be a third variable causing this phenomenon? Maybe some of the responsibilities that come along with having a pet such as frequent walking could lead to less stress.

  4. Angela Maria Napolitano

    I miss having a dog so much! It honestly makes my day so much better whenever I see a dog. I’ll be having a terrible time and then all of a sudden a dog walks near me and it will, without fail, make me smile. One of my roommates and I are very similar in this. There have been multiple times where we’ve been walking somewhere together and and spot a dog, then at the same time we both say “Guys! A dog!” and run towards it. Dogs are such sweethearts, they literally want nothing except to make us happy. We don’t deserve them.
    I actually found this video on YouTube that’s a great example of how dogs can help relieve stress. In it, a girl’s boyfriend surprises her with two corgis. She talks about how she used to watch videos of these dogs to calm herself and make herself feel better before she went to bed. She also mentions how she had had an incredibly stressful day at work but after she had spent some time with the dogs she felt so much more relaxed.

  5. Jacob Alexander Loffredo

    I could not agree more that indeed animals makes people happier. I have had a dog for my entire life and can honestly say that when petting him or wrestling around with him there is no possible way to not be in a great mood. Not just dogs put a smile on my face, really any animals in general does. I have read before that all animals are good in nature therefore they pretty much are nice to everyone regardless of if they know you or not. Here is a cool article that talks about how pets make us happier as well as healthier due to such things as making us healthier and active. I don’t even believe this topic needs a study done on it, simply if you put a puppy in someones arms they wont have a frown on their face no more.

  6. Lucille Laubenstein

    What a wonderful, and happy topic! There have been lots of connections made between the presence of pets and mental health. Here are a few articles which have had something to build onto what you have brought up:
    http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2011/07/cats-dogs.aspx
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/200906/health-and-psychological-benefits-bonding-pet-dog
    https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/p/pets-and-mental-health

    In your post, and in some of the articles I brought up as well, the focus seems to be on the relationship between mental health and the presence of dogs. I wonder if the benefits of being around animals is limited to dogs, or if being around a cat, guinea pig, rabbit, or fish could have a similar effect?

  7. Samantha Liebensohn

    My dog is my best friend. Whenever I am upset or feeling down I always go to him for a cuddle and a hug. I found your blog post really interesting because it put scientific reasoning behind my beliefs. I’ve noticed that my dog is always able to pick up on my mood by how i act or what I say. It’s interesting to discover how humans and dogs do have an actual emotional connection. Here’s a fun video on people reacting to seeing puppies while they are intoxicated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JboM-STb4E

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