If you're like me, and love all creatures great and small, you likely find animals to be calm, quieting presences in an otherwise hectic world. Stroking a cat on your lap, seeing deer prance through the woods, or viewing colorful fish at an aquarium can be grounding and inspire happiness.
A medical study from as early as 1984 showed that petting a dog had the ability to lower blood pressure. And according to a UCLA study, animal therapy has the power to release relaxing chemicals like serotonin and can even reduce pain.
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If you have a pet at home, you may be quite familiar with these effects. But if you long to nuzzle up to wild horses or help rescued animals, a critter-focused vacation may be just what the doctor ordered. With voluntourism and farm stays on the rise, there are plenty of options out there, from accommodations that double as sanctuaries to farms to wildlife sanctuaries where you can see creatures in their natural habitats. Here are 10 options to consider.
Here's how to make your canine BFF a DIY tug toy out of old towels: