Good health is a state of complete mental, physical and social well-being. In this day and age, it is near common knowledge that the companionship of animals can improve the state of mind and body of a person. After all, there is no end to the companionship, love and elation a pet can bring to one’s life.

Claudia Velez, 24, has a packed schedule: maintaining an apartment with a full-time job while completing online courses toward a bachelor’s degree. She may have a lot on her plate but admits that being a cat owner helps her stay grounded. She adopted her cat, Gray, from a rescue team and hasn’t looked back since.

“I know that when I get home from wherever, he’s going to be there, you know, he’s going to be by the door waiting to see me coming in. Like even, in the mornings he comes and cuddles next to me, in bed. It’s comforting to have a pet come and say ‘good morning’ to you, in that sort of way,” Claudia Velez said.

Clearly, taking care of a pet can provide a sense of validation to the pet owner because there is someone relying on you, who looks to you with loyalty and esteem.

“He’s part of the family, I mean, he is a lot of responsibility, but he brings happiness kind of like a family member would. Sometimes he can be a huge pain but the happiness outweighs it, especially since I have a small family, it just makes it feel like there is someone else there,” she stated.

This is perhaps one reason why people feel a special attachment to their pets: there is a familial, unconditional love resonant. This special connection is part of the scientific occurrence researchers are calling the “human-animal bond”. Experts such as Dr. Matthew Chin have found that the human-animal bond is similar to the already well known human-human bond.

“The scientific study of human-animal interaction is currently in its infancy. As more and more research is conducted over the coming years, we are sure to discover many more surprising aspects of our relationships with animals,” said Dr. Matthew Chin, who is an Instructor in the Psychology Department at the University of Central Florida.

As of right now, pet ownership can be an enriching and positive experience for animals and humans alike; as long as people enter the pet-ownership role after much careful deliberation and research. Dr. Chin also has a special recommendation for pet owners, new or veteran: please acknowledge that a pet, of any kind, is first and foremost an animal. It is important to learn as much as possible about the way your animal experiences the world.

“Your animal can only experience things from its perspective, not from yours. I think a lot of people tend to forget that. To foster a closer bond with a rabbit, for example, it would be useful to research how rabbits experience the world,” Dr. Chin said.

Enjoy the process of becoming a pet owner. Consider this: not only can an animal as a companion offer social support, particularly during times of stress, but you too can offer the animal support. Moreover, there are a lot of homeless animals that could truly benefit from the support of people. Animal shelters, rescue groups, pounds and humane societies are great places to keep in mind when searching for a pet.

The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando estimates that more than 10,000 homeless companion animals will enter through their animal shelters this year. Consider diminishing the plight of relinquished or homeless pets occupying shelters. You both may find a better state of being within each other.

Pet play dates are always fun in general, for everyone involved, however, this event will have the added benefit of attendees walking away with a little keepsake. Plus, who knows? Maybe there will be a love connection between pets. Or between pet owners? Cupid is still on duty, after all.