For the Love of a Pet CategoriesTo Your Health & Sanity

For the Love of a Pet

How many of my fellow Boomers have a pet?  Did you know that there are many health benefits of owning a pet?  Aside from the physical health benefits, there are also emotional health benefits.  For example, a pet gives a person companionship and unconditional love.  Individuals that live alone may feel lonely and even depressed.  Having a pet to care for could help these individuals feel needed–a reason to get up in the morning.  There are other studies that state that having pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and increase happiness. 

When I was going through a divorce several years back, I decided to get a dog.  I went to the shelter to find my new companion.  I stopped in a no-kill shelter here in town called Richmond Animal League.  They had a few dogs available, but none caught my eye.  There was one baby they had just gotten in a day earlier.  They took us into a comfortable living room-type area to see how she would react to me.  I sat down on the couch and she sniffed around and then came to me while I was sitting there.  She sat between my legs and looked up at me with her sweet eyes.  They were saying take me home!!  Well, needless to say, she became my baby and I had her for ten years.  She got me through some tough times. I was so grateful that I walked into the shelter that day and found my Callie.  I acquired a stray cat while I still had Callie.  After Callie died, I wanted to get another cat.  I remembered my positive experience at the Richmond Animal League and adopted my feisty second cat Abigail from there.  My two cats have become an important part of my life and I will definitely consider a shelter when I want to adopt another pet. 

There are so many ways to get a pet.  Consider going to a shelter to adopt your new companion.  Shelters like the Richmond Animal League or the SPCA are filled with animals that need forever homes.  Another option would be to use a nonprofit organization like, to help you find the pet you would like.  Their resources include more than 17,000 shelters and rescues that they use to search for your perfect pet.  They also have info to help you determine what type of pet would be a good fit for your lifestyle.  You can also specify how far you would be willing to travel to adopt a pet.  You can even choose a specific kind of pet that you are looking for such as fish, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, etc.  For those that may not have the time or ability to go to the local shelters, may be a good option. 

There are many animals that deserve a forever home.  Pets give us joy and a purpose.  I love my two fur babies and wouldn’t trade them for the world!!

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Marie Giammarco is a mid generation Boomer who came of age in suburban New York, 50 miles north of the city. A child whose mom and grandparents were Italian immigrants, her close knit family defined her growing up years. The product of an environment that revolved around food, health, and physical activity, she saw many elderly people age before their time because they lacked these things. She has a passion to help Boomers and Seniors to be active and live a longer, more healthy life.