Column: Just what the doctor ordered

Here is some great news for pet owners, and I suspect most of you already knew this, the furry, finned and winged animals we live with can actually help in healing.

A survey conducted by Human Animal Bond Research Initiative found that doctors are increasingly recognizing the many healing powers of pets and are even willing to prescribe pets to patients for a multitude of health issues.

Here are a few key findings from the survey:

● Most doctors have successfully worked with animals in medicine.

● Sixty nine percent have worked with them in a hospital, medical center or medical practice to assist patient therapy or treatment. They report interactions with animals improve patients physical condition, mental health condition, and mood or outlook.

● Doctors overwhelmingly believe there are health benefits to owning pets.

● Ninety seven percent reported that they believe there were health benefits that resulted from owning a pet.

● Most doctors have seen their patients health improve as a result of pet ownership.

My suggestion would be if you are feeling a little down, hug your dog, cat or even your snake (can you hug a snake?). I know when Karma is with me things are always better, she keeps my blood pressure down.

There is nothing like seeing a bunch of puppies playing to make you feel good. If you are looking for a pet, be sure to check with your local Humane Society or rescue group first.