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Success P e t s
M.D. Our pets cuddle with us when we’ve sprained
an ankle or are stuck home with the flu. But
did you realize just how much they help our
T E X T BY M O R G A N “ T H E S E RV I C E
DAC H S H U N D ” L I N D S E Y
The earliest evidence of the strong relationship between
people and animals is the hand of a 12,000-year-old
human skeleton found petting the remains of a wolf pup.
Twelve millennia later, in the 1980s, doctors discovered
that heart attack survivors who owned pets lived longer
after the attack. Around the same time, they confirmed
that the mere act of petting a dog or cat lowered
blood pressure. Just recently, it was discovered that the
presence of animals increases oxytocin, the hormone
responsible for a positive mood and new cell growth.
In psychological therapy, an animal is often brought in
because its presence makes troubled children open up
with their therapist sooner and more completely. From
hospitals to the home, animals of all shapes and sizes
are helping people live better. Just make sure they’re