A dog-or any other pet-is for life, not just for Christmas. Interacting with a pet, your own or borrowed, will help you feel less stressed, less lonely and increase you happiness. Research shows that pet owners visit the doctor less. Pet ownership has also been linked with lower risk of heart disease and high cholesterol, and reduces blood pressure. The strong attachment between owner and pet is also associated with lower levels of depression and greater self- esteem. Pet ownership also increases empathy and boosts popularity. A study (in 2010) showed that the presence of dogs increased the number and length of people’s conversations with others in the community. Another study highlighted that pets made people feel as positive as their best friend did. Clearly pet ownership has many health and well-being benefits, and I shall discuss this more next time.