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Reap the stress-reduction benefits of furry companions

Rebecca Johnson, a professor and director for human-animal interaction at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri in Columbia, with her dog Callie. (Submitted photo)

By Liz Johnson, Staff Writer

Caring for a pet has become more difficult as I’ve aged, but I feel the benefits far outweigh the caveats.

There are a lot of factors that seniors should consider when deciding whether to own a pet.

In an interview with Rebecca Johnson, a professor and director for human-animal interaction at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri in Columbia, The Richmond News learned some tips for seniors to take into account when getting a pet.

The Richmond News: What are the benefits of a senior owning a pet?

Johnson: Pets give seniors a purpose, a reason for getting up in the morning, someone to take care of and a source of unconditional love. We all need this. Owning a pet can lower stress and reduce blood pressure. A pet can increase the owner’s social activity, thus reducing depression and loneliness. The physical activity of giving a pet its exercise and the joy of playing with the pet contributes to health and well-being.

The complete story is in the Living 50-Plus section of the Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 Richmond News.

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