Accepting his Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Dramatic Motion Picture, Mickey Rourke thanked a number of people and his dogs, including those which were living and those which were not.
He is right to believe that his dogs contributed to his well being and success. The beneficial effect of good dogs on people has been studied scientifically and proven. Mickey's comments made sense and were refreshing to hear.
Pets have the ability to enhance our health and quality of life. Medical and psychological research shows that pets appear to be associated with a broad range of health and emotional benefits, such as increased general health, decreased stress, decreased risk and slower progression of coronary heart disease, enhanced cognitive development in children, and emotional support. (Friedmann, E., The Role of Pets in Enhancing Human Well-Being: Physiological Effects (1990); Poresky, R. H. and Hendrix, C. (1988) Developmental benefits of pets for young children; Pets as Sources of Support for Mothers, Fathers and Young Children. Gail F. Melson, Ph.D., Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907; Rona Schwartz, M.S., Purdue University; Alan Beck, Sc.D, Purdue University.)
Below you can read more about the importance of dogs and other companion animals. The excerpt is from my book, When a Dog Is Injured Or Killed (2007).
We love our pets
Americans clearly love our companion animals. There currently are 74.8 million dogs in the USA. (American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey.) We also own 73 million cats. (American Pet Products Manufacturers Association [APPMA] 2001-2002 National Pet Owners Survey.) Four in ten households own a dog and three in ten own a cat. (Id.) There are 11 million households with fish, six million with birds, five million with small animals such as hamsters and rabbits, and three million with reptiles. (Gregory Potts, Pampered Pets Prove Profitable, J. Rec. (Oklahoma City), July 6, 1999.)
Our yearly veterinarian bills average $196 for dogs and $104 for cats. (Ibid., APPMA survey.) During the December 1999 holiday season, the average pet owner spent $95 on gifts for pets. (Anne R. Carey & Marcy E. Mullins, USA Snapshots