While we have all heard that dogs are man’s best friend, U.S. researchers at Miami University and St. Louis University have  made some significant scientific connections between the companionship a pet can bring, and an increase in physical and mental health.

In particular, pet owners with non-aggressive dogs expressed a higher sense of self-esteem, we more extroverted, got more exercise, reported a great closeness to significant others in their lives, and significantly, were less lonely, and less fearful about getting close to other people.

The study participants were also asked to write about a time when they felt socially excluded and then write about a favorite pet or a favorite friend; writing about pets was just as effective as writing about a friend in terms of minimizing feelings of rejection, the researchers found.

In short: get a pet!

Read more at www.washingtonpost.com.

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