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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MCLA chapter.

Having a pet is amazing—they can be soft and cuddly, easy to care for and fun to watch and play with. There can also be mental and physical health benefits to owning a pet. When you have a pet, you are never alone and you always have a friend. Pets can become like family. Here are some of the benefits of owning a pet. 

1. Pets are really good company.

Pets are really good company, especially when you are alone. They can provide someone to cuddle with, someone to take care of and someone to talk to. No, it’s not weird to talk to your pet. They are amazing. I  own two kittens, Luna and Tux, and they are so cute. Pets also can calm you down. I feel calmer knowing my mom has some company while I’m away at school. I also feel calmer when I am around my kittens. 

My mom says she’s glad to have the company and someone to come home to while away. Pets keep you active, especially if you have a dog or cat. They must be taken on walks, fed and played with. Keeping active helps you feel better as the more you move, the more serotonin is released. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that increases happier emotions. Having to care for another living creature and keep active helps with stress as it forces you to focus on something else. 

2. Pets can be emotional support.

As mentioned above, keeping active can help increase serotonin levels in your brain, which can lift your moods. Also having someone to care for can help you focus more intently. When you have to care for someone, you are prompted to take better care of yourself and perhaps keep your space more clean for your pet. This can improve your living situation and increase self-care. Increased self-care and a cleaner living environment will ultimately help you focus better. It will also help keep you calm, which again, will increase focus.

The increased levels of serotonin from keeping active will keep you calm, but just the joy of having a pet will increase serotonin. Just as an object in motion will stay in motion, happiness will lead to more happiness. Being happier will keep motivating you to be more productive leading to, again, better self-care.

3. Pets can become family.

Pets can often become as close as family, making your family bigger. This shows just how much love pets can bring into our lives. They make great companions and give unconditional support. It is important to know which pet to get for yourself and how to care for it, but once you figure that out, get the pet. Pets are great additions to families. Take care of an animal and it will take care of you, and give you so much love, joy and happiness, you will not know what to do! 

When looking for a pet to add to your family, adopt, don’t shop. There are so many animals out there waiting for a forever home to give their love to. Look around local shelters in your area for you forever furry friend.  In addition, when you adopt, you save more than one animal by making space for more that may need to come in. That means more pets for you and more stray or abused animals off the streets.

Amanda is a junior at MCLA. An English major and dance minor, she is very creative. She loves spending time with her friends and family. Her favorite things to do are dance, write and be out in nature.