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Pet Ownership: RX for Good Health

Posted September 19, 2012 in Altoona, Advice Column, Ankeny, Pleasant Hill

We talked last month about how important social interaction is as we age — loneliness can be a contributing factor to failing health in many seniors.

Jeter enjoys time with all of our residents.

The benefits of pet ownership have been well documented — pets help relieve stress, ease boredom and depression and provide unconditional love like nothing else can.

We have a little four-legged angel that lives on our campus named Jeter. Wherever he goes, he brings a smile to our residents’ faces.  It is apparent from the photos why this happens — just take a look at that cute doggy face! How could you not smile?

I recently talked with Jeter’s owner, Ed, (who also lives here at Valley View Village) about the benefits of pet ownership, and how personally this has blessed his life.

Ed shared with me that Jeter provides wonderful companionship. They play together, and Ed and Jeter are quite the walkers. Weather permitting they are out two or three times daily for 45 minutes or so, getting some great exercise. Needless to say, this offers a tremendous health benefit. Ed appreciates the joy that Jeter brings to others. “People may forget my name, but they know who Jeter is,” he says. You could say that Jeter is pet therapy in motion — wherever he goes he’s sure to get plenty of petting, attention and an occasional doggy treat. Jeter is a very well-behaved dog — he rarely barks, has a patient temperament, and doesn’t shed. Ed adopted Jeter from the Animal Rescue League a few years ago, but when I see these two together, I sometimes wonder who rescued whom?

Elderly pet ownership is not for everyone, but if you are physically, mentally and financially able to love and care for a pet, the rewards received are priceless.

Information provided by Shelly Charter, Valley View Village, 2571 Guthrie Ave., Des Moines, 265-2571.

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