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Pets give companionship, cuddles and joy – and also unavoidable stresses

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By Emily Hemendinger

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I've heard the primary health benefit of owning a dog is being forced to take them on walks.

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Also forced to bend and work the core out to pick certain things up.

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I've heard the primary health benefit of owning a dog is being forced to take them on walks

It's much more than that. I find that I cannot help but smile whenever I'm in physical contact with one of our dogs or our cat. They flop into bed next to you and slide their nose up under your hand so you just have to pet them. And you find yourself smiling as you do. One of my dogs knows how to get his nose under my hand and flip my hand up so it lands on the back of his head, then he slides the rest of his body up next to my leg. It is very restful. Other times I will be hard at work and our Border Collie will come up beside my chair and put a paw up on my thigh by way of saying "pet me Dad". Or they will curl up at my feet under my desk, both the Border Collie and the Husky. Our cat will walk behind my legs and rub that furry body against my calves, then walk around the side of my chair and look up at me, wanting me to pick him up and hold him on my chest. He'll curl up on my chest for 10-15 minutes purring happily until something catches his attention and he's off to do other cat things. But it is just impossible to not smile when your cat is purring in your arms his eyes closed in obvious pleasure as you rub his cheeks or under his chin.

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I am currently owned by my Coton (ball of cotton) who wants a backrub all the time and is always ready to go for walks. It's a bit stressful because her energy levels are higher than mine, but she rewards me by licking me all over the face.

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