In The Media: Dr. Maggie O'Haire in Oprah Daily

March 31, 2023

Yes, Your Pet Regulates Your Nervous System

man with dog

This excerpt is taken from an article printed on March 31 by Oprah Daily.

Yes, Your Pet Regulates Your Nervous System

This time last year, I had just moved into a very old house that was still under construction. I was six months pregnant. I wasn’t sleeping. I had barely unpacked a single box, and my stress was sky-high. The only thing that helped was when my partner of 11 years would sit next to me and give me a steady, loving gaze. I’m not talking about my husband here (although he’s pretty great). I’m talking about my cat.

Milly is a delicate calico whose picture ought to be in the dictionary next to aloof. Knowing that she deigned to sit near me made me feel better. But that’s not the only reason her presence relaxed me: Interacting with an animal has a real, measurable impact on our nervous system, particularly our stress response.

Just ask Maggie O’Haire, PhD, associate dean for research at the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine

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