New Initiative Touts Benefits of Dog Ownership

Hundreds nationwide join the Power of Paws effort by telling their dog "tails.”

Posted: August 16, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT

Vietnam veteran Arnie says his service dog Fort helps him with everyday tasks and affords him greater independence.

When it comes to achieving long-term health, pets might be giving personal trainers a run for their money. Helping pets and people get healthy together is the heart of a new national initiative called Power of Paws.

The program is all about touting the health benefits of owning a pet, as well as making contributions toward pet assistance research. A variety of pet partners united in the effort to educate pet owners about the human-animal bond and encourage people to get active, reduce stress and live healthier together.

“Studies show there are significant physical, mental and emotional benefits for both pets and pet parents,” said Bill Pearce, chief marketing officer for Del Monte Foods, the lead program partner. “It’s as easy as taking your dog for a walk. Researchers say you’ll walk farther with your pet than you would if you were walking alone — an activity that benefits you both.”  

Sue's rescued Golden Retriever, Gracie, gives her the motivation to stay active.

One way to get pet owners involved in the movement is through the Power of Paws website, where people can share their stories about how their pets have changed their lives. Hundreds of stories have been shared — from therapy cats who visit nursing homes to dogs who assist those with disabilities — detailing people’s personal experiences of emotional and physical recovery with help from their pets.

A shelter volunteer, a Vietnam veteran, and a man with a traumatic brain injury are among those who have told their “tail” on the Power of Paws website. For every “tail” that’s posted, $1 goes toward a charity partner, including Animal Medical Center in New York, Animal Friends in Pittsburgh, and Bergin University for Canine Studies in Santa Rosa, Calif.

To further educate consumers about the health benefits of pets, Power of Paws is supporting a new show that premiered on Discovery Health channel called “Pets and People: The Power of the Health Connection.” Encore airings of the show are scheduled through September on these dates at 9 a.m. EST: Saturday, Aug. 16; Saturday, Aug. 30 and Saturday, Sept. 6.

Health benefits by way of furry friends

Heart patients are nearly five times more likely to survive a heart attack than those without pets.1

Pets can help humans combat loneliness, depression and other emotional problems — even something as common as stress.2
Cholesterol and triglyceride levels are lower in pet owners than in non-owners.3

1. Ontario Veterinary Medical Association
2. Generations, vol. XXV, no. 2, Summer 2001; New York Times, July 24, 2001
3. Delta Society/Anderson, 1990







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f   f, IL

8/17/2008 11:17:42 PM


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Pat   San Angelo, TX

8/17/2008 10:50:41 PM

We have 2 dogs. One is a rescue who lets me know every day in her own sweet way how necessary I am to her and the other is a "pound puppy" who makes us laugh even on the most difficult days. I know that I could not be who I am for my family without my doggy angels. They truly help me to stay strong even during the toughest times and give me real happiness on the worst days. In my opinion, no one should be without at least one!

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Danielle   Bartlesville, OK

8/17/2008 5:57:37 PM


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Anna   Maple Grove, MN

8/17/2008 5:26:10 PM

I believe it! Pets do so much good for us. Very interesting article!

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