October 2008 A subscription based eBulletin devoted to your Smart Heart Living.

If you know someone who could benefit from the information in this eBulletin... pass it on!!!

In this issue:
Is Rover a remedy for heart disease?

We Recommend:

Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul

by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hanson, Marty Becker, DVM, and Carol Kline

Reader Reviews:

"Once you open Chicken Soup For The Pet Lover's Soul, you won't be able to close it. It teaches about how animals can be healers, heroes, and teachers."

"I found myself crying one minute and laughing the next."

The Healing Powers of Pets

by Marty Becker, DVM

Reader Reviews:

"As you read the book you will learn of the many ways in which your interaction with pets will maintain and enhance your good health."

"...it is impressive to read example after example of the well-documented benefits gained by utilizing the bond between human and animals."

Between Pets and People: The Importance of Animal Companionship

by Alan Beck and Aaron Katcher

Reader Reviews:

"As you read the book you discover as much about yourself as you do about animal companionship."

"No matter what your pet, you ought to give this book a read... hard to put down.... I thoroughly enjoyed it."

When I was recovering at home after multiple bouts in the hospital with heart problems, I was advised by my long term care case manager to get a dog. She felt it would help ensure that I'd get out walking every day and help me from sliding back into my workaholic tendencies of staying at the office too late. You can't stay late at work when your canine friend has an urgent appointment with a fire hydrant!

We didn't get a dog right away, but eventually we did - and it's one of the best decisions we ever made!

the love of a dog The benefits of pets
Studies have shown a correlation between pets and a lowering of blood pressure. That alone might be a good enough reason to consider a pet! (For more about high blood pressure and ways to manage it, see Smart-Heart-Living.com)

Having a dog has a key benefit... it is an excellent impetus to get out and get regular exercise. We take a daily 30 - 60 minute walk with our dog, Jed. And we go rain or shine, hot or cold. If we didn't have a dog I know we wouldn't always make the effort!

a beautiful kittenThere are even more benefits to sharing your home with an animal! Pets can lift your spirits and improve your mood when you are feeling down, sad, or grumpy. It's difficult to stay in a bad mood when your pet loves you unconditionally and you can see it in their adoring gaze. When you are greeted at the door at the end of a hard day by a loving pet, all your stresses melt away.

Pets don't talk back or give unsolicited advice. They are great listeners. And if you live alone, it beats talking to yourself!

Did you know?
Nursing homes now arrange for pets to visit residents, and some long-term facilities even keep pets on the premises. Even hospitals recognize the healing qualities of pets.

chocolate labWhen my elderly mother was hospitalized recently we asked about bringing our dog, Jed, to visit her. We expected the answer would be no, so we were presently surprised when they said, "sure!"

We were allowed to bring the dog to a common area for a visit. I didn't tell my mother that we were bringing him - instead I told her we had a special surprise for her. When I wheeled her out to the atrium area there was my husband with Jed, the beautiful black Boxador.

an unexpected visitorMy mother is very fond of the dog and had been touched to know that he'd been to her bedroom at home several times looking for her. As we visited, I couldn't help but think of the healing qualities of stroking a beloved pet. It can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and dispel feelings of loneliness.

A loving relationship with a cherished pet just makes you feel good!

A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.
Ogden Nash

A reality check
Of course all of this is assuming your pet doesn't have soiling or behavior issues. Then it could be a case of increased blood pressure!

Taking on the care and feeding of an animal is a long-term commitment - a commitment that can't be taken lightly.

But when you consider all the benefits (check out some of the suggested reading above, right), if it's compatible with your lifestyle it is well worth giving pet adoption strong consideration.

An alternative
the love of a dogIf you can't have a pet due to your lifestyle, where you live, or allergies, you can walk someone else's dog or volunteer at the animal shelter. It's not the same as the love affair you develop with your own pet, but it would still offer some of the same benefits of exercise and lowering blood pressure.

For more information on pets and heart health see pets and heart health at smart-heart-living.com.

Smart-Heart-Living.com was created as a resource for those living with heart disease, their loved ones, and anyone else interested in a heart healthy lifestyle. Browse the site, bookmark relevant pages, and send us your comments!

If you're living with heart disease, share your story for the benefit of others by creating your own page on the Smart Heart Living website!

the love of a dog