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Your pet loves you and you love your pet back. That single emotional exchange is one of the reasons that pets can encourage a healthy emotional mindset, says psychologist Therese J. Borchard.

Borchard says the presence of a pet gives structure and responsibility to a human life. Pets must be fed and tended to, preferably on a schedule.

If we wish to collapse disgruntled in a chair at the end of the day, there is that friendly wet dog nose, urging us for a pet and to go for a walk.

Just petting your animal reduces stress-related responses in the brain, according to a study by the University of Virginia. This distraction can be an effective therapy that stops a person from obsessively ruminating on problems or issues.

And finally, just the feeling of love given and returned with our pet, is enough to make life a little more meaningful.

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