By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

When my daughter was a baby, I took her and my 10-year-old Golden Retriever, McGee, to the local nursing home to visit the residents.  I thought they would like to see a happy cute baby and McGee was a perfect gentleman to tag along. While many of the seniors smiled at the cooing baby, I learned first-hand of the connection my dog brought. McGee immediately tried to go with a lady in a wheelchair, even though I told him to stay with me. I quickly discovered that she had bacon in her fanny pack. She had been saving it from breakfast in case someone brought a dog in to visit. McGee loved the pets, treats and kind words.

A recent study completed at Texas A&M confirms that that positive interaction with pets help seniors overcome depression and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

“Pets keep seniors active both physically and mentally,” Kit Darling, MS, infection control coordinator at the college said. “Walking the dog or going outside with the dog will increase one’s activity. Fresh air and sunshine are good for both. Stroking or brushing the animal is good exercise for the hands and arms. Pets may motivate the elderly to do activities they might not do otherwise.”

As I was leaving the nursing home, a feisty lady pulled me aside and told me that she had spent years taking care of kids; when I come back, just bring the dog.