5 Reasons Why Having A Pet is Good For Your Health

There are many benefits to animals for residing with us in our homes, but did you know that having a pet is also good for your health? Unconditional love and companionship in and of itself is accompanied by many benefits, but there are other reasons why owning a pet can give you a health boost! Mental and emotional improvements are just a couple of them -- check out the following five ways that owning a pet might be beneficial to your health. Some of them might surprise you!

1. Lower rates of depression. It might not come as a surprise that owning a pet increases a person’s sense of purpose. This can be integral for someone feeling depressed or who is lacking interest in their usual activities. Pet Therapy exists for a reason! Owning a pet might help you conquer depression and general feelings of being down.

2. Decreased risk of allergies. It might seem counterintuitive, but spending time with pets has been shown to lower a child’s risk of developing allergies. Other studies show that children exposed to pets early on in life tend to have more stealthy immune systems overall. Having healthier kids is always a win!

3. Higher social interaction. Did you know that there are meet-up groups geared towards pet parents of all different types of animals? Yes, even turtles. Getting out of the house to walk your dog or take him or her to the dog park also gives you more opportunities to interact with others. Humans are naturally social creatures, and a lot of people find that their social lives and networks naturally increase as a result of being a pet parent.

4. Increased physical activity. If you’re a dog owner, you’re more likely to get outside and throw a frisbee, go for a run, or even just take a walk around the neighborhood. The cardio boost will bring other benefits, such as increased heart health, lower blood pressure, and decreased cholesterol levels.

5. Lower stress levels. Having a sense of purpose combined with increased physical activity and social interaction can have some fantastic benefits, the main one being decreased stress levels! Lowering cortisol has a profound impact on your overall health and well-being.

What do you think, pet parents? Were you surprised by these benefits?


Jessica is an East Coast girl recently transplanted to Austin, Texas where she lives with her husband, their three human children, and their rescue fur baby. She is an OB Nurse Educator by background, but has worked as a freelance writer, content manager, and brand strategist for the past few years and loves every minute of it. You can follow her on her personal blog or Instagram profile. 

Lifelines: a project about the bond between the homeless and their pets

Over the last year, Gabrielle Amster and I have passionately honored the bond between the homeless and their pets in Austin, Texas and the surrounding areas through the medium of photography and sound. We have named this project Lifelines.

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Lifelines Project announced: Photography of the homeless and their pets, Austin, TX

Lifelines is a project dedicated to honoring the bond between people and their pets. This multi-media exploration documents the unique lifestyle shared by people without shelter and the animals they rely on for companionship, protection, and in some cases, their emotional and psychological well-being.

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Outdoor Dog Portrait Session... fall in love with these pups!

Happy Fall, everyone! I hope it has started out perfectly. Since it's going to be 100 degrees AGAIN here in Austin, Texas it doesn't quite feel like fall yet 'round these parts! So for this post I'm channeling a perfect fall day in the crisp mountain air I spent photographing and frolicking with two dogs I completely adore. As a photographer who LOVES color imagery I can't get enough of the fall colors: golds, reds, oranges. I loved the contrasting colors of the leaves and the clear blue sky in these photographs. I also enjoy the way the dogs' coloring and texture really adds to the warmth of the scene. I usually photograph pets in their home environment, but if my clients have a special request for me to create art of their pets or children in another location I am more than happy to oblige. One of the challenges of photographing dogs in an open space is that there can be many distractions– like fun noises, other pets and people walking by just asking to be chased and oh-so-many smells that have not yet been sampled! During my pre-consultation and planning meeting with my clients I discuss the benefits of each location in order to ensure that I can create images and artwork that is perfect for them. These particular dogs are exceptionally well trained and can go off-leash, which certainly helped for me to create more pleasing imagery of them in a safe way. I did a lot of following, playing and observing in order to capture their exciting outing in the breathtaking fall scenery of the Santa Fe mountains.

So get out and enjoy this time of year with your pets! Soak in all the colors and welcome the change of the season with your loved ones.

Norah Levine is an Austin children portrait photographer and pet photographer. She photographs in homes and on location. She also travels to Santa Fe, New Mexico frequently for sessions. Please view her website for more details www.norahlevinephotography.com


My Family Photos in Austin Texas

This week I'd like to share images of just a few of my family members here in Austin! I recently purchased a new lens and I decided to play around with it using my favorite subjects- my animals! They are usually willing and always there for me. (Sometimes my calico gives me the "hairy eyeball", but she usually gives in!) While I don't have images of all five of our pets to share today, this will offer a glimpse of a few of our furry family members. I love them dearly, in spite of the hair they leave on my clothes and floors each and every day. In these images you'll see Fuego, our little orange tabby, Ruckus, our special boxer labrador mix, and RC, our calico cat. If she looks slightly snooty, it's because she is. When love her anyway. I'm teaching a pet portrait photography workshop this week in Santa Fe and I am so excited. I can't wait to share as much as I can with my students about creatively photographing pets. I look forward to sharing the experience with you next week!