I’ve always been an animal lover, but I’m going to be 100 percent honest here—I didn’t quite understand my fiancé’s obsession with his golden retriever, Jake, at first. Jake, aka Marmaduke, slobbers, his fur is everywhere, and it always seems it’s my side of the bed his 110-pound self migrates to or my shoes he chews (did I mention he’s 10 and has yet to outgrow his puppy phase?). Fast forward one year later to the anniversary of Jake being my roommate, and my attitude has done a complete 180—I swear, now I’m even more in love with my dog than my fiancé is!
What’s the purpose of my little anecdote? It’s simple: A myriad of studies prove that pets like my own canine companion have a way of not only making us happier, but healthier. Pets enrich our lives and prolong them on both a physical level by—
• decreasing blood pressure
• regulating breathing
• lowering stress levels
• improving our cholesterol
• promoting exercise
—and an emotional one in terms of:
• improving mood
• providing companionship
• releasing oxytocin, said to be the “cuddle hormone,” connected with affection and bonding (which may be a big reason as to why “comfort dog charities” travel around the country when a community needs them most, from Boston to Newtown, Connecticut, to Joplin, Missouri—yesterday, the set of Good Morning America was transformed into the fictitious Canine Ranch Spa to reward a team of golden retrievers for their service!)
So how can we return the favor and make our pets as healthy as they make us? Why, take a cue from Good Morning America: invite your four-legged loved ones to pawse and treat them to a spa treatment, of course!
We love places like Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa in Farmington, Pennsylvania, which caters not only to its human guests, but to its furry ones as well with the on-site Nemacolin Wooflands Pet Resort & Spa, a PET PROUD®-designated facility.
“We’re a luxury pet-lodging facility for overnight and day stays…and one of the things we do is have activity-based lodging because we find the happier, healthier pets are active pets,” says Erin Mills, general manager at the pet resort.
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill pet boarding place. Pet stays at Nemacolin are personalized and include individual and group play session, along with nature hikes, Frisbee toss, and swimming; in addition, a veterinary hospital at the resort features a certified canine rehabilitation therapist, who offers a fit camp for animals that may need to lose a few pounds, along with hydrotherapy services, complete with an underwater treadmill to aid pets suffering from arthritis or pain management, Mills tells us. Pampering luxuries such as massage therapies, mud treatments, blueberry facials, and pawdicures and pawlish at the full-service grooming salon put the “wow” in bow-wow, too!
What are the benefits of pet treatments? We quickly break a few down for you:
Hydrotherapy: Animals can get back in the swim thanks to hydrotherapy, which can aid in weight loss, arthritis, or post-surgery rehabilitation; boost flexibility and cardio; and reduce chronic pain.
Massage: Not only does massage deliver stress relief for your animal, but a therapist can target specific areas like tightness or tenderness that may be ailing the dog at the time, Mills says. It’s also a unique bonding experience between pet and pet owner, or animal and therapist.
Acupuncture: The practice of acupuncture is used to treat an array of condition, including respiratory, skin, gastrointestinal, neurological, and musculoskeletal problems, in every species of animal, according to the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.
Facials, like the blueberry treatment at Nemacolin Wooflands, are not only known for their soothing effect but are designed to brighten fur, help get rid of tear stains, etc., Mills says.
Want more ideas on where you can travel and have your pet tag along? Check out the Top 10 Spas voted “best pet friendly” in the SpaFinder® Wellness 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards!
Plus, have a pet you love? Share your story in the comments!
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Connect with Nature Through Connecting with Animals
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Pets Make You Healthier, Happier – Bring Them to the Spa!
Lake Austin Spa Resort Debuts New Program to Celebrate Dogs
Last two images courtesy of Nemacolin Wooflands Resort and Spa