I have always had an animal. For a couple of years I didn’t have any household animals because I was living with my husband (boyfriend at the time) and his roommate and then when we moved into our own place, it was too small, too cluttered and needed too much work to get a pet. My husband doesn’t like cats and we suspect my step-daughter has an allergy to them. We’re both pretty active individuals and not home often during the week, so it was reasonable to not get a dog. We’ve had a few fish but they died after we introduced a fish to the tank who had ich.
Just recently we bought a couple of mice from a pet store (Mitzi and Cuddles). Until then, I hadn’t realized how much I missed having an animal to take care of and to provide some companionship. These mice are the sweetest things. Only Cuddles will allow me to pick her up but I’m working on gaining Mitzi’s trust. Just watching them interact with each other, sleep, eat, clean themselves, and play on their wheel boosts my mood and reduces my stress. It’s amazing how something so simple can do so much.
There have been studies that show the benefits of having pets. Most of these studies show a decrease in blood pressure and triglycerides, an increase in survival after a heart attack or other health condition, an increase in general health, and a buffer during stressful situations when the person is in contact with an animal. These studies also show that watching animals interact (i.e. fish swimming, mice running on their wheel, or puppies playing) also increase relaxation. If a person has a pet that needs exercise, it’s more likely that the owner will become more active as well.
I’ve uploaded a funny video of my mice onto YouTube so that you all can share in my enjoyment of watching something so simple as two mice running on a wheel. Maybe it will provide some health and relaxation benefits as well. Enjoy!