From the earliest time, man has domesticated animals. Ancient Egyptians held the cat sacred and often kept them as pets. Early farmers originally domesticated the dog as a helpmate in herding, eventually inviting them into their homes a cherished pets. Today is no different. Dogs and cats as well as exotic birds, snakes and other animals are often considered part of the family. There are many benefits to pet ownership, including health benefits, companionship and help and protection. A good pet is an important part of many families. There are many health benefits to pet ownership. As a rule, pet owners have a reduced risk of heart disease. This is because they tend to have lower cholesterol and blood pressure then non-pet owners. Pet owners experience few headaches and less indigestion and sleep better then non-pet owners. Another health benefit, especially for dog owners, is getting more exercise. Pets aid in the prevention of depression and loneliness and promote social skills and positive self image. Elderly pet owners visit the doctors less then non-pet owners. The health benefits of pet ownership are enormous! Pets of all types make excellent companions. Whether you have a cat or a dog or a more exotic pet having someone to come home to every night is comforting. In fact, pet owners deal with the loss of a loved one much better then non-pet owners as they have a constant source of comfort with them. Taking a pet on a walk, playing catch or cat-n-mouse keeps you active. After time, your pet will develop its own personality. Pet owners are known to engage in conversations with their animal friends - another way to ward off loneliness. Pets make excellent helpmates. Specially trained dogs help the blind and otherwise handicapped people not only navigate their way through life, but can be trained to retrieve items, aid in grooming and other important tasks. Cat's help keep a home free of rodents and other pets. Dogs and even some birds can be trained to protect your home. Pets can even save your life. Consider the recent Florida case involving a parakeet and a choking two year old. Upon seeing the child choking, the family's pet bird flew through the house to find the toddlers mother. Flapping its wings madly, the parakeet proceeded to say "Mamma, baby" over and over until the mother went to investigate. She found her daughter in time to perform the Heimlich maneuver and save her daughters life! Stories of other 'miracle' pets surface every few months. Once you make the decision to bring a pet into your home, consider adopting an abandoned pet from a local animal shelter. For a small fee, you can rescue an animal and reap the benefits of pet-ownership. If pet adoption is not for you, make sure to use a reputable breeder when purchasing your pet and thoroughly research any breed or pedigree information before completing your purchase. Whether you are looking for a companion pet, guard dog or a pretty bird, pets are an important part of our lives!