Having a pet can help you live longer

SANDUSKY Are 14 pets too many for one person to own? Amy Porter, Humane Society of Erie County director, doesn't think
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Are 14 pets too many for one person to own?

Amy Porter, Humane Society of Erie County director, doesn't think so, she owns five dogs and nine cats.

"They are my kids and grandkids," Porter said. "I don't have any human children, so I prefer furry family members."

Even though she is constantly buying bags of pet food, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control said there are many benefits to owning a pet.

Physically, owning a pet can improve your health by decreasing your blood pressure and cholesterol level. It can also provide more opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities.

"Petting a dog can lower your blood pressure," said Bonnie Beaver, veterinarian. "If you are sitting calmly and quietly, you are doing something you enjoy that isn't active."

Emotionally, a pet can provide companionship.

"Animals provide unconditional love," Porter said. "They don't care what you wear, what you look like and they are always happy to see you. They are someone to care for, talk to and love. Most people find that a cat or dog is not just a pet but a family member."

"They also serve as confidants," Beaver said. "Many people are willing to tell their pets something they would never tell a human."

Julie Roeder, Roeder Harley-Davidson, never understood how people got so attached to pets until she got a couple of her own.

Roeder's Jack Russell Terrier, Buckshot, never leaves her side.

"He's very attached to me, always following me around," Roeder said. "Everybody laughs when they see me, they know he's not too far away."

Buckshot, who is named after NASCAR driver Roy "Buckshot" Jones, was given to her as a Christmas present eight years ago.

"I never had pets growing up and never understood how people got so attached. But they're like one of your kids," she said. "We take him home every night and bring him to work here. He's one of the staff here."

Another one of Roeder's pets roams the store on a daily basis. It is a 3-year-old African Tortoise, Maggie, who was another Christmas gift to Roeder.

"I always liked and collected turtles and tortoise stuff, so I got a real one."

Maggie, who may or may not be female, will most likely live to be 120 years old. Roeder has made plans for Maggie's future and already promised the tortoise to her grandson.

She keeps Maggie in a tank at the store, but often lets her out to walk around.

"We let her out usually everyday," Roeder said. "She surprises people sometimes because they don't expect to see her."