Reporter: Shannon Samson
Web Producer: Jason Bailey
There's at least one pet in six out of ten households in the United States.
That's an all time high. But more importantly, it could help save lives. Shannon Samson reports.
When Stan Blostein suffered a heart attack 15-years ago, his loved ones gathered together, waiting to hear his first words.
"The cardiologist came out to my family who were all waiting and said which one of you is Mandy and they said none of us are Mandy, Mandy's a dog," says Stan.
While his family was surprised that Stan asked for his dog, Doctor Stephen Cook wasn't.
Cook is a cardiologist at the Ohio State University Ross Heart Hospital and with four dogs of his own, and he "whole-heartedly" believes in the power of pets.
"There's been a 3-percent decrease in the overall risk of heart attacks in pet owners versus non-pet owners," says Cook.
Cook adds, "There's been studies that show just focusing on your animals, giving attention to your animals has actually helped out with blood pressure control as well."
Cook also points out, when compared to non-pet owners, those with pets have a much better chance of surviving a heart attack long term because pets have been shown to help lower cholesterol and stress levels too.
That's why places like the ross heart hospital have enlisted the therapy dogs to help patients through their recovery.
Trish Neel-Wilson, A Registered Nurse at Ross Heart Hospital says, "A dog coming in makes you feel happy, makes people smile; when you bring a dog in the room, they automatically smile. It's an automatic thing."
Stan experienced that first-hand when he was in the hospital.
While he takes his doctor's orders for recovery seriously, he still believes there's a big part of his healing that can't be found in any pill.
Doctor Cook reminds us exercise is a vital part of heart therapy and who better to exercise with than your pet.
If you'd like more information, go to the Ohio State University Medical Center's website www.careconnection.osu.edu/ and click on "news & media room."