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National Pet Day

Happy National Pet Day!

It is generally believed that humans started domesticating animals as pets 12,000 – 40,000 years ago. (Yes, reports vary, and record-keeping was sketchy at best back then!) One thing is certain – we have been attached to these animals for a LONG time.


In the US alone, there are about 77 million domesticated dogs and 59 million cats in households across the country. So just what is it that has drawn us humans to pets for tens of thousands of years? The science behind this phenomenon is truly incredible.

Positive interactions with pets cause physical changes in oxytocin and in beta endorphins. This is why the simple act of petting a friendly dog, for example, feels good. Beyond the strange inner workings of our incredibly complex makeup, pets also provide good, plain comedy. Whether it’s a cat chasing a laser pointer or a dog riding in a golf cart, good times are always to be had with our “fur babies.”


Companionship is another obvious appeal to pet ownership. Pets offer love and affection without any judgement – which is more than we can say for most people! This is why studies often show a decrease in loneliness and depression with pet ownership. Pets help us destress and give us an outlet for exercise as we work together to stay mentally and physically fit.


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