Sharing the love of your pet is probably the best volunteer “job” ever! The importance of the human-animal bond has been documented for many centuries. But over the last few decades, scientific research has revealed that interacting with a friendly animal can provide many physiological and psychological benefits:
- Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Releases endorphins (oxytocin) that reduce pain and have a calming effect
- Lifts spirits and reduces depression
- Encourages communication and socialization
- Provides comfort
- Decreases anxiety
- Increases self-esteem
- Reduces boredom
Additional benefits depend upon your choice of volunteer activity. For example, if you decide to volunteer with your pet in a literacy program, you will be helping to improve a young person’s reading skills. You and your pet may be engaged in helping a person improve motor skills if you volunteer in a rehabilitation facility. The opportunities are endless!
So let’s get started!