Animals impact emotional and physical health


FRANKLIN, Ky. – We all love our pets, but did you know that dog owners tend to live longer than non-owners according to the American Heart Association?

In fact, animals can serve as emotional support for their owners and can help people overcome trauma, loneliness, and other struggles.

Pets have their own unique way of loving and comforting and this is one of the many reasons people love their pets.

WKU psychology professor Rick Grieve said pets can help people with mental health issues.

“Emotional support animals play the role of almost a surrogate therapist. I have known clients who have struggled with depression, mainly depression, who have said their pets saved their lives, ”said Grieve.

For the elderly, pets can provide a sense of companionship, especially for people like Mrs Emma Hurst who has lost several husbands.

“I worry about him, and I can’t sleep or do nothing without him because me and this dog were pals,” Hurst said.

Since her pug, Jessie James, went missing two weeks ago, Hurst has lost a lot of weight and taken several medications.

She even told her daughter, Emmett Patana, that living without her dog was difficult.

“Watching her drop to 98 pounds and, you know, not knowing if she’s going to answer the phone the next day or even be alive the next day. You think it’s just a dog and it’s not a dog, it’s not just a dog. It’s like his son, ”Patana said.

“People really bond with animals like they do with other important people in their lives and as we get older and start losing people in our lives it actually impacts our health. “said Grieve.

Pets can help in other areas of healing as well.

“When they do animal-assisted therapy, pain tolerance increases, blood pressure decreases. A study was done with children with autism and their level of psychological distress decreased when working with animals, ”said Grieve.

The term emotional support animal is often abused by people trying not to pay a pet’s rent, but the benefit of a pet for people who really need it can be lifesaving.

Thus, Grieve encourages the public not to abuse the title.

Jessie James is 9 years old.

Hurst begs the public to give him any information on the whereabouts of his dog.

If you’ve seen Jessie James, contact the Simpson County Sheriff’s Office.

Hurst and Patana offer a reward for any information leading to Jessie James’ safe return.


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