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Furry friends can help keep your heart and mind happy, experts say

The new center will feature private rooms where "an adopter will be able to take a potential...
The new center will feature private rooms where "an adopter will be able to take a potential adoptable dog away from the noise, people, and other dogs to a private space for a real chance to get to know the dog and decide if he or she is a good fit for their family."(David Whisenant-WBTV)
Updated: Feb. 5, 2021 at 2:42 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - February is American Heart Month and the American Heart Association is sharing how mental health can affect heart health.

The American Heart Association partnered with the Memphis Humane Society to bring awareness and to encourage pet adoptions.

Health experts said pets can help improve mental health.

Dr. Steven Gubin is the Board President of the Mid-South branch of the American Heart Association.

He said stress from the pandemic is likely taking a toll on people’s heart health.

“Heart disease is the number one cause of death in both men and women. And when we think about risk factors for cardiovascular disease, one of the greatest risk factors is stress,” said Gubin.

Dr. Gubin added that owning a pet may help relieve some stress.

“There’s been a lot of studies that have shown that if you have a pet, then it decreases your anxiety and stress level, which is also very beneficial from a cardiovascular standpoint,” he stated.

The American Heart Association is partnering with the Memphis Humane Society, encouraging people to consider adopting by donning pets with red bandanas.

“Bringing a pet home not only helps us as a community to get animals off the street, but also helps you bring pets home, and give you joy, and helps your heart to be happy,” said Sarah Siskin with Memphis Humane Society.

The Humane Society also allows volunteers to take pets for walks and foster pets as well.

“Our Foster program is about two weeks long, and it’s most of the time are puppies and kittens that haven’t been vaccinated yet. So, for safety reasons we keep them out of the shelter. So, it’s a great way to be involved with animals without actually taking on the full commitment,” said Siskin.

Those interested in adding a furry friend to their lives can head to the Memphis Humane Society’s website to apply.

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