Benigna Marko, a local government professional based in Florida’s Miami-Dade County area, has a longstanding fondness for animals. Benigna Marko particularly enjoys dogs.
According to experts in both animal and human behavior, spending time with dogs can provide a variety of mental and physical health benefits. Studies have shown that stroking or hugging an animal can prompt the release of endorphins that help to reduce heart rate, while also relaxing the animal and making it feel good. Similarly, talking to animals can encourage the production of relaxing hormones, which lower blood pressure. In fact, research demonstrates that pet ownership can reduce blood pressure significantly in patients with borderline hypertension.
The presence of an animal may also reduce feelings of loneliness and despair, which can contribute to depression. Likewise, animals can be similarly effective in fighting anxiety, as their presence grounds one in the present moment while reducing stress levels. Research at the University of Michigan showed that even the act of simply observing an animal can help a person feel more patient and calm. When the interaction progresses to actually caring for another creature, a person also learns openness and generosity that benefits his or her human relationships as well.