Friends With Benefits - Pets are Good For You
A recent study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, concluded that pets are an important source of social support and provide many psychological and physical advantages for their human companions. Specifically, the study, "Friends With Benefits: On the Positive Consequences of Pet Ownership", found that "pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extroverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners."
Three experiments were conducted to examine the potential benefits of pet ownership on "everyday people" or those not already suffering from physical or psychological disorders. The first studied 217 people, to compare "well-being" factors such as self-esteem, depression, loneliness and physical illness, between pet owners and non-pet owners. The second involved 56 dog owners to see if "social needs fulfillment" from their dogs predicted owner well-being. In other words, do the social needs filled by ones pet complement and enhance those filled by friends and family. And the third involved 96 people to determine whether a pet could actually "stave off the sting of social isolation and rejection". Specifically, can pets make one feel better about themselves after experiencing some kind of hurt.
The results indicated that there is real proof that pets benefit the lives of their human companions both physically and mentally, and serve as a real source of social support. The researchers wrote "Whereas past work has focused primarily on pet owners facing significant health challenges (e.g., Friedmann & Thomas, 1995; Siegel et al., 1999), the present study establishes that there are many positive consequences for everyday people who own pets".
Of course, pet owners have always known and believed this to be so! Now that there is hard evidence that pets are good for you, there is no excuse not to adopt a pet immediately.
Don't believe me - its science!