Studies show senior citizens can benefit from owning a pet

BELVIDERE, Ill. (WIFR) - Senior citizens who have pets could live a happier longer life according to a new study.

"I’ve had some good dogs, but this one’s special,” said Harold Aldis, Maggie’s pet owner

Aldis describes his dog Maggie as the light of his life.

"She is an amazing dog. She's not mean but she's got a disposition," Aldis said.

Aldis said Maggie was a big help when his wife passed away.

"She stayed by my chair or under my feet or lays across my feet," Aldis said.

And Maggie makes sure Aldis never feels lonely.

"She comes to the bathroom, follows me into the bathroom, she’s constantly with me," Aldis said.

"That's something that seniors need. They need companionship, they need interaction, they need to fight kind of the loneliness and isolation that comes with aging," Aldis said.

Pets owners like Aldis inspired owner of Home Instead Senior Care Dan Woodka and his team to do some research about pets and seniors.

"80% of seniors say I have a pet for companionship. Over 60% of those that partook in our studies show that their moods increase because of animals," Woodka said.

Other data in this study shows that seniors plan their living around their pets.

"My son knows I won't go anywhere from here until she’s gone. Then I am going to have her cremated and put in my casket," Aldis said.

But for now, Aldis plans to enjoy all the time left with Maggie.

"I am looking forward to a day when I might be able to get out and walk her. I have an electric cart in the garage and I am going start taking her out myself once in a while," Aldis said.

To read the full study you can click here