Murphy will be turning 15 soon. If he were my son I’d be worried about his driving. But because Murph is a Labrador Retriever mix he’s approaching the end of his life.

You wouldn’t mistake him for a pup if you met him. His eyes are cloudy, his walk a bit stiff, and his hearing diminished.

Recently it seems he’s experiencing some cognitive issues. Is there such a thing as doggy Alzheimer’s? He gets disoriented while taking a walk off leash in our woods. He actually barked the other day, something he rarely does.

He’s excited to be fed, but then he stares at his bowl for a while. We’ve changed foods; even giving him dried cat food to encourage him to eat. And yet he continues the staring process. Eventually he eats it all with gusto.

The other day I was being his cheerleader. I kept saying, “go, go” trying to encourage him to eat. But instead of eating he “went, went.” I switched to yelling, “stop, stop.”

Even while I was cleaning up dog poop I had to laugh. Since then I’ve only said, “eat, eat” so he doesn’t get confused.

Yes, it can be frustrating when your pet poops where he’s not supposed to or eats something you wanted intact. But overall owning a pet is good de-stressor and health promoter.

Get a Pet

Okay, I know some of you are saying, “ I’m allergic to pet dander or I don’t like animals.” Then this article isn’t for you.

But if you’ve been thinking about a pet, read on.

If you already own a pet (or two or three or…) you’ll be patting yourself on the back for your smart decision after you read this article.

Walk your dog, not your fish.

Here are a few of the things owning a pet can do for you. You get different benefits from different pets. You’ll probably walk your dog more often that say, your fish. If you’re looking for a particular benefit you might want to do some research first.

  • Lift your mood.
  • Lower your cholesterol.
  • Increase your chances of getting exercise.
  • Lower your blood pressure.
  • Decrease anxiety.
  • Lower chances of heart disease and heart attack.
  • Decrease pain.
  • Relieve stress.

And my personal favorites:

  • Entertainment.
  • Personal lap warmer.
  • Unconditional love.

Your favorite benefits?

In addition to Murph our family pets include cats and goats. What kind of pets do you have?