They are a lot of work, I know. Getting up at five and sometimes even four in the morning to walk a desperately gotta-go doggie, particularly if you've only had two hours of sleep or it's pouring, or arctic-tundra cold, or, heaven forbid, you are actually ill, is no spa day. Or how about that kitty litter that's full to overflowing and you've just remembered but you're already late for work and dressed, if not gorgeously then at least stainlessly and you totter over with your improbably high heels to dump the contents into an awkwardly held-open trash bag when some of it just...spills....
So what's the point? Many of us love and adore our pets to the point of madness and many others of us simply feel for them as deeply as we would any human family member. They are adorable, firstly. As any animal lover knows, just sitting and watching the playfulness of a kitten or the crazy antics of a dog trying to scratch his back can be worth hours of relaxing and joyful entertainment. They are, usually, soft. When we pet them, we feel a sense of comfort, of connection. Finally, they appreciate, respond and love us unconditionally the way other human beings try but often cannot achieve. They don't talk, for one thing, so arguing is out of the question. And they are dependent on us for their very survival so they count on our kindness and live for our affection.
Many people find the benefits of owning a pet so tangible they couldn't imagine their lives without theirs. In fact, an entire industry has been built around training and hiring animals and their handlers to become "therapy animals" and provide comfort, stress relief, companionship and warmth to those in need of their services.
Many believe that patients in hospitals recover more quickly when allowed contact with animals, and that elderly in nursing care facilities have an improved level of health and awareness. For a more extensive look at this topic please follow this link: http://www.holisticonline.com/stress/stress_pet-therapy.htm