By Jon Schroeder

The Cove Herald

Valentines Day, some say, is a time for people to find their match.

And in a sense, Petfinder helps Copperas Cove residents do just that. While the service, located at, isn’t local, two area groups are using the site — the Copperas Cove Animal Control, which has been using the site since last year, and Phipps Pit-Stop Animal Shelter, which joined Jan. 24.

The site does matchmaking, allowing potential pet owners to search for particular breeds of animals ranging from parakeets to Pekingese. Most of the animals on the site are dogs and cats, but many different breeds are represented. The database is also searchable for pet ages, sizes and genders. It finds pets nearest to a zip code (for area code 76522, Copperas Cove locations are displayed first, but many nearby shelters also participate, including locations in Harker Heights, Killeen and Gatesville).

Petfinder spokeswoman Kim Saunders says this Valentines Day is the “perfect” occasion to bring a new furry friend into your home.

“It’s all about finding your perfect match,” she said.

But Saunders said there’s other reasons to give a pet a home this Valentines Day.

“It’s good for your heart all around,” Saunders said, speaking both figuratively and literally. She added that she’s seen studies which say that pets lower stress and make for healthier hearts.

According to the Delta Society, which bills itself as “the leading international resource for the human-animal bond,” the health benefits an animal can provide are many and varied.

Citing more than 20 studies conducted in the last few decades, a Delta Society information sheet lists the following as a few of the health benefits of owning a pet:

  • Pet owners have fewer minor health problems.
  • People who have AIDS who have pets have less depression and reduced stress. Pets are a major source of support and increase the perception of the ability to cope.
  • Pet owners have better physical health due to exercise with their pets.
  • Heart Health People with borderline hypertension had lower blood pressure on days they took their dogs to work.
  • Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than non-owners
  • Having a pet may decrease heart attack mortality by 3%. This translates into 30,000 lives saved annually.
  • 70% of families surveyed reported an increase in family happiness and fun subsequent to pet acquisition.
  • The presence of a dog during a child’s physical examination decreases their stress.
  • Children owning pets are more involved in activities such as sports, hobbies, clubs or chores.
  • Children exposed to pets during the first year of life have a lower frequency of allergic rhintis and asthma.
  • Children with autism have more prosocial behaviors and less autistic behaviors such as self-absorption.
  • Senior Health Animal-assisted therapy can effectively reduce the loneliness of residents in longterm care facilities.
  • Medication costs dropped from an average of $3.80 per patient per day to just $1.18 per patient per day in new nursing home facilities in New York, Missouri and Texas that have animals and plants as an integral part of the environment.

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