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Pets › Articles

Our best friends - memorializing the animals who have helped and comforted us

Dog person? Cat person? That's usually the debate when it comes to pets - and for good reason. 63% of U.S. households have pets (that's 71.1 million households!) Of those, 46.3 million have dogs (and the average dog owner has more than one dog) while 38.9 have cats (and cats owners have more cats than dog owners have dogs - 2.2 cats vs 1.7 dogs).

And yet, there are also other popular pets: After cats and dogs come fish, birds, and rabbits. All manageable (especially fish!). And many who are reading this have had other types of pets: pigs, ferrets, hedgehogs, rodents (gerbils, hamsters, chinchillas, rats and guinea pigs), frogs, tarantulas, hermit crabs, snakes, horses, cows . . . the list goes on. Then there are the exotic pets that no one should have such as lions, tigers, bears, big cats, alligators . . .

Science tells us that there are good reasons to have pets. Having a pet can lower your blood pressure, improve your immune system, lift you out of depression, ease stress and anxiety, and decrease your risk for stroke and heart attacks. There's a reason for the internet popularity of pet pictures - even the pictures can make us smile, improving our health. (Almost as beneficial as meditation?) If you're a pet person, you know the value of your animal friends.

Our ancestors had the same variety of pets with the same benefits, without knowing the health benefits to them. Looking at photos of them with their pets will make you smile - so consider this collection your health boost for the day!