When Angela separated from Tom, her husband of 10 years, she hoped the situation would be temporary. She rented an apartment, while Tom and their nine-year-old cat remained in the couple's home. As weeks turned into months, with no reconciliation in sight, she began to exhibit all of the classic signs of depression. "I had crying jags in the morning before I went to work, I couldn't sleep, and I was gradually withdrawing from family and friends," she remembers. "Basically, I lost my zest for living."
Then a colleague at work mentioned that her neighbor had kittens for sale. "I went to have a look, and I fell in love with two of them," she says. Three weeks later, the kittens were hers, and within days, her depression had started to lift. "Suddenly, there was someone to welcome me home at the end of a long day, someone to laugh with, someone to care for again...They were a great, drug-free solution to my depression
Angela's story is far from unique. Numerous studies over the past 20 years have documented the positive power of pets on both our mental and physical health. A 1993 report in the Harvard Health Letter highlights some of these benefits: lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety levels. The report also points to the fact that companion animals have more consistent behavior than their human counterparts. In other words, they offer their owners a genuine sense of unconditional love.
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