• Other Friendship Advice

In the Media – Dogs as connectors to friendships

Published: April 8, 2014 | Last Updated: April 2, 2016 By | 10 Replies Continue Reading

If you’re looking for friendship, getting a dog might be something to consider.

Aside from the obvious companionship offered by a pet, dog-walking gets you outside your home and offers a way to bond with fellow dog-lovers in your neighborhood. 

In an interesting column in the New York Times (Life With A Dog; You Meet People – 4/7/14), health writer Jane Brody mentioned two studies and also discusses possible drawbacks:

As a study published in 2007 in Society & Animals concluded, pets “ameliorate some determinants of mental health such as loneliness.” In a survey of 339 residents of Western Australia, the researchers found pet ownership to be associated “with social interactions, favor exchanges, civic engagement, perceptions of neighborhood friendliness and sense of community.”

Elderly dog owners report “significantly less dissatisfaction with their social, physical and emotional states,” according to a 1993 study by veterinary researchers at the University of California, Davis.

 Read the article. What do you think?

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  1. Denise says:

    I’ve had cats my whole life, plus 2 rabbits and a tortoise, but also enjoy being around dogs. Last August and September I lost 3 of the 4 stray cats I’d been taking care of. The first disappeared in 2011. I cannot have any more pets now simply because of the expense. Good vet care is expensive, no way around it, so I need to earn more money. Having pets has a lot of benefits and I have many good memories. I hope one day to adopt more from a shelter.

    • Eliza says:

      A tortoise is a great pet, and they have very long life spans. Some tortoises are huge…they are beautiful. Not sure how much care is involved, as I believe they need certain temperatures to thrive. Losing a pet is so tough. At least you still have cat, rabbits and tortoise.

  2. Sue Garber says:

    I believe in those so very much. As a former health care worker, animals bring people together in so many ways and help with all situations. I have also been sad and find it so hard to understand that in our country, in senior living communities and co ops and condominiums that the elderly, some who are disabled or almost complete shut ins, are not allowed to have a pet of any kind. IMHO, I find that to be cruel and unjust. I understand that not everyone wants to live with pets or have them nearby, but more pet friendly housing needs to be allowed, especially for our seniors. Thank you

  3. Kris says:

    Even if you don’t have a dog right now, but you love dogs, you can connect with people through their dogs.

    My husband and I have a second home in a snowbird area, and have to leave our dogs at home with a friend for a month every year. I of course miss them terribly. But many people in the neighborhood where our second home is have dogs, and I meet them when they are taking their dogs on walks. It is amazing how many people I have met and gotten to know when I ask if I can pet their dogs! Everyone likes to show off their dogs and it is a great way to make new friends!

    Of course, I am also happy to return home to my dogs in the spring!!!

  4. Jarod says:

    In my experience, people are more caring/attentive to their pets than they are to other people.

    • Eliza says:

      I just feel that people consider their pets as givers of unconditional love. A pet doesn’t judge you based on how you look, what you do, etc. Pets evoke a very positive gesture from some people–that’s a good thing. And I agree with Sue above–it’s a shame some of these high-rise bldgs in NYC do not allow pets–especially for the elderly. Many studies have shown that pets–both cats and dogs are a positive aspect of living for older people and create a healthier outlet and offer the companionship that they crave/need. 🙂

  5. Eliza says:

    Yes, studies have shown that petting a cat can lower blood pressure 🙂
    Pets are such a source of joy and companionship. An all-around benefit/enhancement to one’s everyday life.

  6. jacqueline says:

    So true, Irene. Dogs are people magnets. Most cities have dog parks, where you can sit, yack and socialize, while your dog runs around happily with other dogs.

    For those unable to have a dog, a great alternative is a cat. Kitties are wonderful, loyal companions and can be left alone.

    And for those unable to have either a dog or a cat, a fish, bird, hamster, etc. is a good choice, too. All are great for your health!

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