We have all heard about the mystical stress relieving benefits associated with spending time with our pets, whether they be cats or dogs. But what about a pig, donkey or even chickens? A recent article in Whole Living magazine, “Animal Magnetism” explores the therapeutic relationship that we humans form with our four-legged friends. The author follows several members of Pet Partners, an organization that works with multiple species of therapeutic animals, throughout various visits to nursing homes, residential treatment centers and counseling centers. According to the article, research has shown that interactions with animals, not just dogs or cats, has been proven to lower blood pressure, reduce stress related to trauma and even help manage anxiety. Several studies have suggested the benefit of having an animal in the classroom setting, stating that this has reduced aggression amongst children, and are particularly effective working with children on the autism spectrum.  So, the next time you are feeling distressed, try hanging out with a furry (or feathery) friend, whether it be at home, an animal shelter or at a local stable such as Chastain Horse Park.”Animal Magnetism” Whole Living Magazine (Presently, the article is only available in the print version and not online)Profile of Billy Boy, a donkey featured in the article