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Furry Valentines
& Pet Programs That Come From the Heart

Want a furry valentine? St. Valentine's Day and Spay Day USA offer some great opportunities. Open your heart as animal expert, Diana L. Guerrero shares unique tidbits and encourages pet adoption and altering during St. Valentine's Day celebrations and Spay Day USA. Read up on these two great programs--an adoption drive and Spay Day USA.

Animal Expert Comments:
Valentine's Day Good for the Heart & Good for Pets

Animals warm the heart but did you know that they are also good for the heart? Animal behaviorist and author, Diana L. Guerrero suggests that you might want to give yourself a furry valentine and receive some astonishing benefits in exchange.

Guerrero said, "Anyone who owns a pet knows how critters can enrich lives. But most people are not aware of the health benefits that animals add to the household or about the unique efforts that exist to help pets and their owners."

Recent findings reported by the American Animal Hospital Association confirm that animals improve the human condition and highlight additional benefits of pet ownership. Among those reports:

  • The Harvard Health Letter explained that companion animals offer unconditional affection and pet owners' benefit through lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety levels.
  • The University of California at Los Angeles found that Medicare patients who owned pets had fewer medical care visits than those who did not.
  • Australia's Baker Medical Research Institute evaluated men and women for heart disease risk factors. Researchers found that pet owners had lower blood pressure and lower levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides in comparison to non-pet owners.
  • Cambridge University (England) studied how human health could be improved by pet ownership. When investigators concluded their timed study, those with pets reported improvement in general health over those without.
  • The State University of New York in Buffalo found that people confined to wheelchairs, and who had service dogs, were less depressed, less dependent on caregivers, and more active outside their homes than those without.

Guerrero said, "Valentine's Day is a day we celebrate love and those we is a great time to adopt an animal into the home. You can open your heart and receive the unconditional love that animals offer-along with a wealth of other lessons."

The animal behaviorist shares some of those lessons in her book, What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality: Inspiring Lessons of Wild and Tame Creatures. The text has attracted a grassroots following and was recently released in India. It is available throughout the USA, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

In What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality the animal expert discusses pets and other animals and says that animals teach us how to live in the now and how to tune-in instead of tuning out.

Speaking of tuning-in, the animal behaviorist said, "Animal enthusiasts will want to know about two unique programs are available to pet lovers and their furry valentines." The national programs are an adoption drive and an annual spay and neuter program.

On February 12-14, 2005 a dog adoption drive will be spearheaded by Pedigree. The Pedigree Dogs Rule(tm) Adoption Drive will reward potential dog owners for adopting a dog from a shelter or breed rescue association.

During the Adoption Drive, the first 1,000 people in the USA who submit proof of an adoption between February 12-14, 2005, will receive a year's worth of free Pedigree dog food to help feed their new furry friend. In addition, Pedigree will donate a matching year's supply of food for a canine at the organizations where winning adoptions take place.

"This is a unique opportunity." Guerrero said. "Adoption is great, but the need for the reduction in abandoned or orphaned animals is even greater. Adoptive pet owners should take advantage of the national Spay Day USA program taking place shortly after. Spaying and neutering pets should be a priority for every pet owner."

Guerrero is referring to the Spay Day USA program spearheaded by the Doris Day Animal Foundation. The national campaign was launched in 1995 and is responsible for the altering of over one million animals. Many veterinarians and other pet businesses offer discounts or vouchers for spay and neuter services as part of the drive.

"It is heartwarming to see the enormous response Spay Day USA has received over the years," says Doris Day, actress and DDAF's founder and president. "Hundreds of veterinarians, thousands of volunteers and over one million companion animals have made this one of the most widely-supported public service projects in animal welfare, which shows that people do realize that we can put an end to pet overpopulation in a humane and caring way."

Guerrero said, "One of the biggest problems is the failure of people to realize the extent of the pet over population problem. Although the numbers are steadily declining, due to programs such as Spay Day USA, between 4 and 5 million animals are euthanized in shelters every year. (One every six and a half seconds.) Unfortunately there are still millions of homeless animals living out in the streets or in feral colonies."

Statistics, based on reports from facilities across America, show that over 56% of dogs and puppies entering shelters are killed, and approximately 71% of cats and kittens entering shelters are killed. A surprising thirty percent of those animals entering shelters are purebreds.

So how can altering and animal help? In seven years, two unaltered cats and all their descendents can theoretically number 420,000. In just six years, two unaltered dogs and all their descendents can number 67,000. So the simple surgery prevents pet overpopulation and future problems associated with it.

"Along with behavior problems the other top reason people relinquish animals to shelters is the difficulty in finding homes for littermates. Spaying and neutering your pet is a humane and caring act." Guerrero said.

Both February pet events are offering prizes. Anyone who adopts a dog over Valentine's Day weekend and submits the proof of adoption will be eligible for a discount coupon for a bag of Pedigree Dog Food. (All entries must be received by April 30, 2005.)

Participants of Spay Day USA can enter the "Every Spay & Neuter Counts" contest. Winners may win a goodie bag of prizes or an award of $100. Spay Day USA 2005 is co-sponsored nationally by the Hartz Mountain Corporation, Natural Life Pet Products, Purrfect Fence Cat Fencing System, Dogswell, Pet Food Express, and Modern Dog magazine.

Guerrero concluded, "A fuzzy valentine that warms your heart year round is the best Valentine's Day gift you can share. Have a heart this Valentine's Day and adopt an animal--and be sure to take advantage of these great February contests and opportunities."


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