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NEWSLETTER Thinking About Companionship This Season? HEALTH BENEFITS OF PET OWNERSHIP

Fitness. Pets need regular activity and, if a dog becomes your pet of choice, you’ll also be signing up for brisk daily walks to help your furry friend keep in shape. In turn, you’ll also feel the benefit of regular, low-impact ex- ercise. According to a recent survey, 36 per cent of pet owners said that having a pet has helped them lose weight. Who needs a per- sonal trainer? Social. Believe it or not, having an animal can even have an impact on your social life… in a good way. Walking the dog around the local park or taking it to obedience lessons are just two settings where you’ll have the opportunity to meet new faces and interact with people you might not otherwise have come into contact with. And don’t be surprised if you’re stopped by strangers in the street who are ea- ger to pat your furry friend and find out more about her. Companionship. The sheer presence of a pet in the home can boost your mood, especially after a hectic day at the office or even fol- lowing a difficult conversation. The stresses of life can melt away as soon as you walk through the front door and see your beloved pet, desperate for your affection. Said animal will also be your go-to companion of choice to watch a movie with or cuddle up to read a book with on a cold winter’s day. What’s bet-

ter than a furry hot water bottle who listens to every word you say and doesn’t answer back? Mental health. Not only do pets provide com- panionship and help improve your physical health, they can also provide therapeutic and emotional benefits. According to Ingrid Col- lins, a consultant psychologist at the London Medical Centre, “A pet is better than Prozac. Animals have a completely different agenda to humans, and bring things back to basics. They want comfort, feeding and love. In re- turn, they give huge affection.”

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