Those of us who own cats and/or dogs, understand how their "unconditional love" can make us forget about a bad day at work, or how those big brown eyes can convince us to go outside for a walk in the sunshine or how comforting and relaxing it is to have your cat sleep on your lap, contentedly purring away. AND science has proven pets can help lower blood pressure.  While our canine and feline friends are much loved and appreciated for all the joy they bring to those in need, they are not the only animals to play a role in emotional or physical healing.

A UK nursing home has brought smiles to residents with a pet farm that includes rabbits and guinea pigs, a goat and chickens. But the best-loved animals of all seem to be the pigs!  Residents find them a lot of fun and enjoy feeding them. What's more, the old folk have noted that their grandchildren are now a lot keener to visit too!

Horses are also recognized for their power to heal. These sensitive and intelligent creatures have helped many people with special needs to develop emotional and physical skills.

Ferrets might not come to mind when you think of a therapy animal, but sick kids in hospitals have found them a source of fun and even helped them to express their fears.

Rabbits, hamsters and birds all offer companionship. Many find it wonderfully relaxing to watch an aquarium full of gently-swimming fish.

**Please remember that owning a pet is a responsibility, so if you decide to add an animal to your household, please make an informed choice. They will be dependent upon you for food, water and shelter. Animal shelter employees or the internet can provide information on the exercise, food and shelter needs of an animal.

Stephanie Novacek
1(866) 735-0921

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