No matter how rough your day has been, what could be better than to come home and be greeted by a four-legged furry friend who only wants some of your undivided attention? You start to pet your loyal buddy and soon feel the stresses of the day melt away.
Whether your companion animal is fuzzy, furry, feathered or scaled - or anything else in between - research shows that the bond between a human and their animal runs deep and has physical and psychological benefits for both.
That relationship and bond is explored every day at New Mexico State University through the companion animal program in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
"This is very much a reciprocal relationship," said Gaylene Fasenko, an assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences. "When we're petting a dog or a cat or a bunny and feeling those good feelings, our heart rate and blood pressure are being lowered. This is also happening in the animal. It's a mutually beneficial win-win situation."
Those good feelings seem to come from a hormone that is also a neurotransmitter called oxytocin, Fasenko said. In the last 20 to 25 years, researchers have started to better understand what they term the Human-Animal Interaction, and NMSU students have delved into the benefits of having a companion animal in the home through the college program..."  More & video