It’s well known that stress and anxiety can speed up the aging process and also known that oxytocin can counteract stress by promoting feelings of wellbeing. The Research Center for Human/Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine has found that oxytocin is elevated from interacting with our pets. Rebecca Johnson, a nurse who conducts the research, explains that “oxytocin has some powerful effects for us in the body’s ability to be in a state of readiness to heal, and also to grow new cells, so it predisposes us to an environment in our own bodies where we can be healthier.” Therapy dogs have been working in a wide range of healthcare settings and it’s so interesting to attribute the healing that occurs to release of brain chemicals. I’m releasing oxytocin just from thinking about how awesome our furry friends are!!