By Ann Jarema

It’s estimated that each year, over 6.5 million companion animals, otherwise defined as an animal that is suitable to be a home pet, are surrendered to community animal shelters across the United States. This means that there is one animal surrendered per every 50 people in the country. And this number does not represent the number of pets already in homes.

While there are many reasons that people choose to surrender a pet, the most common seem to be tied to moving or relocation, where a pet might not be allowed in a new home. Another common reason is tied to behavioral issues of the animal that a pet owner is unable to change because they don’t have the desire or skills necessary to help the animal improve their behavior.

With the majority of these animals ready to be accepted into a new home, those who wish to bring a pet into their home should look into pet rescue.  While many may think a pet store is the best place to get a cute little puppy or kitten, there are thousands of young cats and dogs available at shelters too.   Many older pets are looking for their final home where they can live as a loving companion.

Pets are known to help reduce stress levels, blood pressure and even cholesterol for their owners due to the need for daily activity that might not otherwise take place. Even petting a cat or dog can release oxytocin, which plays a role in bonding and happiness.

Pet ownership can yield a wealth of benefits for those willing to adopt a pet and take the time to provide the pet with proper love and care. Those with pets often have a lower prevalence of heart disease and decreased cortisol (a stress hormone) and increased serotonin (a feel-good chemical) levels. Pets are great in helping their owners connect with other people, which can lower the risk of depression and loneliness.

Pet owners indicate that they are happier and more trusting. If you are lonely, you may consider letting a pet rescue you.

Petting a cat or dog can release of oxytocin, which plays a role in bonding and eliciting feelings of happiness.

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