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My Spirit Animal



Hi ProAgers!


This blog post is one that reveals a common thread that just may connect me to most

of you.

We own a pet.

If you've read “about me” on my website, you’ll see I mention my dedicated trail companion and of course, he appears in all my blog post photos. I suppose by now

I should give him a formal introduction.

Meet Santo, my dog. I guess I could say he’s my pet but he’s more than that to me and

my family. He’s one of us, a true family member. He is also our accountability partner

and motivator for daily movement because he needs mental and physical training daily and he needs us to be a part of that.

He is also our entertainer, therapy pup and spirit animal. The name Santo means saint, holy or sacred. His name came to us, before we even met him, while driving to pick him up 4 ½ years ago. We think his name is quite fitting.

In case you’ve not heard the term “spirit animal”, here’s a brief description. Spirit animals, or animal totems, have been used symbolically within all cultures throughout history. The technical concept of spirit animals can be traced as far back as 300 B.C. However, it is the Native American culture that is most often associated with the term animal totems. These totems are animal spirit guides who serve as messengers and are with us throughout our physical and spiritual lives to help us gain insights, self-awareness, enhance our connection to the past and even see glimpses of future events. Some believe that animals may come to us by actually drawing us to them because they have lessons to teach us and they can help guide us on our life journey. I find this fascinating and choose to believe this concept to be true for my family and our pets.


Benefits of connecting with your totem animal:

– Self-awareness: Totem animals can help us to learn more about ourselves and our

strengths and weaknesses.

– Personal growth: Totem animals can help us to grow and develop as individuals.


– Healing: Totem animals can help us to heal from emotional and physical wounds.

– Guidance: Totem animals can provide us with guidance and support when we

are facing challenges.


There are also a growing number of scientific studies that back the benefits of having animals as pets. These benefits include:


– Improved cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that pet owners have lower

blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels than non-pet owners.

They are also less likely to experience heart attacks and strokes.


– Reduced stress and anxiety. Petting an animal can release oxytocin, a hormone

that has calming and stress-reducing effects. Pets can also provide

companionship and support, which can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and

isolation.


– Increased physical activity. Many pets, such as dogs, need to be walked or played

with regularly. This can help pet owners to get more exercise, which has a

number of health benefits, including reducing the risk of obesity, heart disease,

and stroke.


– Improved cognitive function. Studies have shown that interacting with animals

can improve cognitive function in children and adults. For example, one study

found that children who grew up with pets performed better on tests of

attention and memory.


– Stronger social connections. Pets can help people to connect with others in their

community. For example, dog owners are more likely to talk to their neighbors

when they are walking their dogs. Pets can also provide a sense of purpose and

responsibility, which can be beneficial for people of all ages.


In addition to these general benefits, pets can also provide assistance for people with certain health conditions. For example, therapy pets have been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety and stress in people with PTSD. Pets can also provide companionship and support for people with chronic illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease.


So why am I devoting this months’ blog to Santo? I’m doing it in honor of all our pets and

the healthy benefits they bring to our lives. I hope this post has sparked a little feeling

of pride and joy in you when thinking of your own pets and the unconditional love

they offer.

I would love to hear a little about the type of pet in your life and if you consider them to be your spirit animal. Please comment and share your pet’s name. Our daughter’s pet is her beloved kitty, Basil. Our son has 3 dog companions, Taco, Penelope and Xeno and our grandson’s fur baby is Benny the Pomeranian.

If you happen to pass us while out on a rustic trail, a city park or a sidewalk, be sure to say Hi! Santo loves to meet everyone and is always up for a belly rub.

Owning a pet actually fits into two of my wellness foundations - mindfulness and movement. You can go back to my June post “Are you a NEAT freak ” to see how having a pet can support daily movement.


Proud to be a ProAger!


Cindy,

Health and Wellness Guide

ProAge Wellbeing


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