The Benefits of Pet Keeping

These may be classed under three broad headings:

PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS TO HUMANS. It seems impossible to doubt that some human—animal bonds can contribute significantly to human flourishing. Relationships with pets seem to help prevent two sources of emotional disorder: deprivation and frustration. They enable nongenital physical contact, provide tactile comfort, improve self-esteem, enhance emotional security, boost personal prowess (as when a beautiful or socially appealing animal is owned), and engender loving relationships that are sometimes seemingly impossible with other humans (Ryder; Levinson; Fogle; see also Serpell).

Potential or actual benefits for pet owners specifically include lower blood pressure (Baun et al.), lower heart rates (DeShriver and Riddick; Wilson and Nettling), reduced anxiety (Wilson, 1991), and reduced depression (Bolin). However, Cindy Wilson argues that although "much has been made over the potential benefits of a pet," it is also true that a large amount of such research "remains anecdotal, nongeneralizable, and scientifically flawed" and that a new methodology should be based on assessable "quality of life measurements" (1994, pp. 4-8).

In the absence of large amounts of data based on objective evidence, interpretation of the psychological effects of pet keeping turns on whether interspecies relations are natural and commendable. Richard Ryder warns against the view that such interspecies relationships are "unnatural or cranky" (p. 5); but that accepted, it is still questionable to what extent legitimate psychological needs are met through pet keeping and whether these needs can or should be met through relationships with members of our own species.

BENEFITS TO HUMAN SOCIETY. It has long been thought that pet keeping can help sensitize children, even train them in attitudes of care and respect (Rothschild). One study goes so far as to claim that "companion animals are a vital part of the healthy emotional development of children" (Robin and Bensel, p. 174). Studies have also suggested that relationships with pets can contribute to the psychological and social well-being of adult humans, especially elderly people who live alone (Connell and Lago). Animal-assisted therapy is sometimes utilized for patients in psychiatric hospitals and for individuals with special needs, such as people with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or aquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) (Gorczyca) and those suffering from chronic schizophrenia (Bauman et al.).

BENEFITS TO PET ANIMALS. The benefits of pet keeping to the animals themselves are difficult to quantify. Leaving aside the wider ethical question of whether animals should be domesticated at all, the impact on the individual pet depends on how well it is kept and to what degree its owners understand and meet its emotional and environmental needs. For example, although pet keeping can provide a stimulus to sensitize children, it can also conversely provide an opportunity for cruelty by abused or disturbed children or by children who lack parental supervision. Some commentators see something psychologically, even politically, perverse about indulging pet animals (see, for example, Shell), and, as discussed below, it is not clear that such indulgence is always beneficial to the animals' welfare.

Beat The Battle With The Bottle

Beat The Battle With The Bottle

Alcoholism is something that can't be formed in easy terms. Alcoholism as a whole refers to the circumstance whereby there's an obsession in man to keep ingesting beverages with alcohol content which is injurious to health. The circumstance of alcoholism doesn't let the person addicted have any command over ingestion despite being cognizant of the damaging consequences ensuing from it.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment