Volunteering and spending time with animals: Is it good for your heart and health?

A sheep


There are some medical explanations of why being around animals is such a pleasant experience. People who are animal sanctuary volunteers have a more positive disposition at life. They feel physically vibrant, especially when working close to and interacting with the gentle animals who were saved from a once terrible life.

The Harvard Medical School suggests that having animals around is associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, especially when you adopt a pet to keep you company in your everyday routine.

Also, various research studies have concluded that taking care of animals can significantly lower blood pressure—petting animals has a calming effect. They tend to get you more exercise by playing with them or walking them, especially dogs.

This calming sensation that animals can bring when they are near can help us handle stress, which means that people who spend more time with animals have a healthier heart rate and less stress on their bodies.


A pig and a woman


How can our relationships with animals benefit our physical and mental health?


The “pet effect” also known as the power of touch can boost your oxytocin levels, known widely as the “hug” or “love” hormones—these are good neurochemicals that help you feel calm and relaxed.

Also, medical research by the University of Missouri strongly emphasized that positive animal-human interaction has fundamentally improved the physical and mental health of both species.

The study concluded that spending time with animals can spike your serotonin levels, the brain chemicals that can help you fight depression. And boost your endorphins, the neurotransmitters that are natural painkillers. And release your dopamine, also known as the “reward” or “happy” hormones.

A wide variety of studies have also shown that petting animals is a valuable form of therapy, especially for people dealing with drug addiction, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and autism because the process helps normalize our brain chemistry.

Families are also finding out that animal therapy is hugely beneficial in helping the elderly improve their moods, especially those with depression, psychosis, or dementia.

No wonder why animal shelters or animal sanctuary volunteers get a higher sense of goodwill about their lives. Often, these volunteers report that their cognitive functioning has significantly improved and that they have a better perception of the quality of life.

Peopls playing with a puppy


Why spend time volunteering at an animal sanctuary?


You see, almost all of the animals in a sanctuary have a painful past.

These gentle, sentient and defenseless beings have gone through ugly situations they don’t deserve to go through—often in their eyes, the hands of humans are hot irons that bring stinging pain and will strike anytime.

Animals don’t understand the reasoning behind cruelty, but they do feel. They respond better when you radiate positivity, care, and love—this is why spending time volunteering at an animal sanctuary or at your local dog shelter has an extraordinary impact on helping the animals live a better life.

Animal shelter volunteers are the catalysts of hope to help animals trust humans again and be what they naturally are—bouncing balls of sunshine who want to live a life full of love, food, and laughter.

Also, the physical and mental health benefits mentioned above when petting animals are more than enough reasons to become an animal sanctuary volunteer.

However, we can’t just volunteer every day just to be around animals. So, if you want to have an animal or two to keep you company and make you happy, the next best thing is to adopt. There are plenty of little souls out there who need our help.

Now, remember that animals that are bred irresponsibly to produce pups for selling can have bitter lives. Although there are responsible breeders, let us still be wary. Let’s check a breeder’s background before taking home one of their animals.

An animal eating the grass


How do our relationships with animals affect how we treat other humans?


Spending time with animals, especially those who were mistreated, can help us abolish speciesism—this form of discrimination is often the cause of cruelty, racism, and violence.

Treating others differently, just because they don’t look or act like us, has brought nothing but the assumption that other members of one species are more important. But in truth, all of us have the same interests.

Humans and animals have the same desire to live in a safe environment with enough food, water, and shelter. We all desire to play, love, and procreate. We all want to be out of harm and live life to the fullest.

This yearning for living life, especially a better one, is evident in the animals that we spend our time with—from our spoiled pets at home to the needy animals in shelters or sanctuaries.

Also, you or anyone you know can choose to be a dog shelter helper or an animal sanctuary volunteer and experience first-hand how you can become more compassionate, gentle, and kind towards other human beings after spending your valuable amount of time and heart on the simple and peaceful life in a sanctuary.

A man holding a kitty


Final Thoughts


Becoming an animal sanctuary volunteer is one of the most impactful and transformative experiences you can have in your life.

Volunteering and spending time with animals is undoubtedly good for your heart and mental health.

Also, it helps you become a better person with a firm ground for compassion, kindness, acceptance, and responsibility—you will learn that animals are capable of feeling pain and happiness.

They’re capable of socializing with other species, and they trust humans so easily… and it is your moral duty to protect them, especially in speaking up for those who don’t have a voice.

If you want to volunteer on-site or remotely, or if you wish to donate, contact an animal sanctuary or dog shelter near you so you can discuss your options.

Here at Juliana’s, we give people from different parts of the world the opportunity to virtually volunteer and offer their professional expertise to care for the animals we rescue. Here’s the list of the volunteering opportunities you can take, wherever you are, to help make this world a better place for the animals through Juliana’s animal sanctuary.

Also, help us spread the message that it takes nothing from a human being to be kind to an animal.

This blog post is written to spread such an important message—the vegan marketers at Ardor SEO are working to help create a better world by supporting vegan businesses and products such as vegan dog food. This post is also brought to you by Bitch New York, though all of the views may not reflect their values.