Pets have been known to shower their humans with unconditional love. While stars bask in the limelight, jet setting from movie location to one glitzy event after another, some of them also come home to their beloved furry companions. Indeed, some of these furballs have even been so spoiled as to witness the making of the on-cam action when they accompany their mothers to work. On the extreme side, (in)famously, Barbra Streisand even cloned her coton de tulear dog, Samantha.
We can’t blame these stars for lavishing love and care on their critters. Research suggests that interacting with pets produces positive emotional responses in people. Levels of oxytocin, the warm, fuzzy chemical responsible for feelings of trust, altruism and cooperation, inherent in the human system, increase, as humans cuddle with a beloved pet. A study by the American Heart Association concluded that “pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is probably associated with decreased cardiovascular disease risk.” In an article in Psychology Today, Dr. Stanley Coren PhD., DSc, FRSC calls dogs “smile making machines,” owing to the fact that seeing dogs makes people happier.
The benefits of owning a pet don’t end there. Did you know that a study by Japanese animal behaviorist, Takefumi Kikusui from Azabu University in Sagamihara, Japan yielded evidence that mutual gazing between a pet parent and a pet produced 130% increase in oxytocin levels in both the male and female dogs. On the other hand, a 300% oxytocin level increase was found in male and female human pet owners was detected, profoundly proving the mutual benefit of having a close relationship with a pet.