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In 1899, Rose Fay Thomas, wife of Chicago Symphony Orchestra founder Theodore Thomas, established The Anti-Cruelty Society and forever changed the landscape of animal welfare throughout the Chicago region. Since that time, the Society has endured as Chicago's oldest and largest open admission animal welfare organization, one that provides a wide breadth of programs that save the lives of thousands of animals each year. A certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the recipient of a four-star Charity Navigator rating, The Anti-Cruelty Society’s mission is to build a community of caring by helping pets and educating people.
Today, The Anti-Cruelty Society remains the oldest and the largest open admission animal welfare organization in Chicago. All animals are welcome at the Society every day of the year. We never turn an animal away from our doors. Ever. And once an animal is admitted, they can stay as long as it takes to find their forever home.
However, the care that we provide to animals in need is only possible through the friendship and support of our community. And by choosing to run with Team Anti-Cruelty, you are making a difference to each and every one of the animals that comes to us in search of hope, comfort, and healing.
8 Science-Based Benefits of Having a Dog
By AKC Staff Nov 02, 2017
1. Dogs relieve stress. According to a study conducted in the 1980s by Aaron Katcher of the University of Pennsylvania and Alan Beck of Purdue, playing with a dog or even just petting a familiar dog lowers blood pressure and heart rate, slows breathing, and relaxes muscle tension almost immediately. That study is backed up by more recent ones that show a reduced level of stress hormones in blood chemistry, even in people who are candidates for blood pressure medication.
2. Dogs are good for your heart. Literally. The “American Journal of Cardiology” published research about a study of 369 heart attack patients one year after they were released from the hospital. One year later, pet owners had a much higher rate of survival than non-pet owners. The research concluded that the bond between humans and dogs reduces stress, which is a major cause of cardiovascular problems.
3. Dogs make us happy. In fact, even just looking at a dog can make you happier. A study in Japan in 2009 found that just staring into your dog’s eyes raises your level of oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” Other studies have shown that owning a dog can alleviate depression, and this is especially true for older adults. As social ties loosen and family members live farther apart from each other, seniors are at risk of becoming isolated and lonely, which is a cause of depression. Research studied people 60 years and older who didn’t live with a human companion, but had a pet. Their likelihood of being diagnosed with depression was one-quarter as likely as non-pet owners.
4. Dogs make us more social. Think about how often you stop to talk to other people when out with your dog, whether they’re your neighbors or new friends at the dog park. A study at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University concluded that people who have a strong attachment to a pet report that they feel more connected in their human relationships and their communities. The study also concluded that teenagers and young adults who grow up with a dog become more confident and empathetic.
5. Dogs keep you in good shape. A Canadian study shows that dog owners are more likely to engage in moderate physical activity than non-dog owners. In fact, dog owners walk an average of 300 minutes per week, while non-dog owners walk an average of 168 minutes a week. So, yes, those walks around the block are good for you, too!
6. A dog’s sense of smell can keep you healthy. Dogs can be trained to detect prostate cancer, according to a recent study. They can also help you avoid foods you’re allergic to. Several places in the United States train dogs to sniff out the slightest trace of peanuts in the room. With so many children suffering from severe peanut allergies, this ability can be a godsend to their families. Dogs can also be trained to alert diabetics to a low blood sugar level.
7. Dogs make us want to take care of them. There must be a reason why so many people become virtually addicted to dog videos, and why puppies are so irresistible. Konrad Lorenz, a 20th-century Austrian zoologist, posited that a dog’s face possesses an “infant schema”: In other words, because a dog’s facial features are “social releasers,” it triggers an innate caregiver response in humans.
8. A dog can make you more attractive. Singles, listen up: A study conducted in the United Kingdom surveyed 700 people: 60 percent said that owning a dog can make a person seem more attractive, and 85 percent said that people seem more approachable when they’re with a dog.
Bottom line: Even though most people think that we’re the ones taking care of our dogs, it’s actually mutual: They take care of us as well, and there’s real science to back it up.
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