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Pets Are Good for Your Heart

But don’t go thinking they’re the cure.

According to a new study by researchers at Kitasato University in Kanagawa, Japan, pet owners seem to have healthier and more agile hearts than people without pets. In the study, those who owned pets seemed to have a higher "heart rate variability." Translation: Those folks responded better "to the body's changing requirements, such as beating faster during stressful situations. Reduced heart rate variability, on the other hand, has been linked to a higher risk of dying from heart disease," says the report on

While these findings are particularly exciting for Jack and me (we're oh-so-proud of Bernard, our little pug, it doesn't give us much in the way of definitive evidence that we're going to live to 100 (our personal goal, of course). The study focused on just a snapshot in time -- one day in the lives of the respondents -- and it didn't include questions about what kind of pet they had, so there's still tons of research left to do on the topic.

All I know is that because we have a dog, we're happier. How can you not be happy when you have a perpetual butt-wagging greeter at your door when you come home each day? And we get out more -- that little guy needs to be walked a lot!

Does your little one make you feel happier and healthier too?

-- Holly