For about a decade, scientists have worked with the idea that pets release oxytocin, or the neurochemical of love, in our brains when we see them. The hormone makes us feel happy and trusting, which contributes to the human-animal bond. In recent years, they’ve pushed that idea by investigating how exactly we benefit from owning pets and whether those without pets (such as nursing home residents and college students in dorms) could benefit from occasional visits.
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