Psalm 130:4
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

Research has repeatedly shown that dogs can be an effective sedative. Continued research has now shown that dogs can relieve more stress and promote better health than even the presence of a close friend will do.

Taking a Bite Out of StressA 1980 study showed pet owners who had been hospitalized for heart disease had a better survival rate and were healthier than heart patients without pets. Another study showed that elderly pet owners had fewer visits to their doctors than those with no pets.

New research shows that dogs lower blood pressure and other bodily responses to stress even better than the presence of a good friend. Researchers subjected volunteers to stress by asking them to count backwards by threes, then sevens, then thirteens and seventeens. As they counted, their stress levels were measured. The tests were done in volunteers’ homes. Some volunteers had dogs, others had a friend sitting nearby. Those with friends nearby did their mental arithmetic more rapidly, but less accurately, than those with dogs. Those who had earlier performed well in the presence of their dog did more poorly when the dog was removed and a friend was nearby.

Researchers explained these findings by pointing out that dogs provide unconditional support. God offers us the unconditional forgiveness of our sins, by grace through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. That’s why Scripture connects the forgiveness of our sins with peace in this life and forever.

I thank You, my dear heavenly Father, for Your unconditional forgiveness of my sins. If it had been up to me to earn Your forgiveness, I would be lost forever. Grant me a greater faith and a more full realization of Your peace. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Bower, Bruce. 1991. “Stress goes to the dogs.” Science News, Vol. 140. Nov. 2, p. 285. Photo: Courtesy of Steve Schwartz. (Used with permission)

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