Talk to the Animals!
One of the greatest boons of having a pet is that it allows one to talk to oneself. Since we're the first hearers of our own voice, the vocal endearments we lavish on our pet grace our own ears too. Having a pet and petting it activates a loving voice that cossets not just the pet but also its owner. (Karpf)
An interesting article that was just published in the NY Times talks about a program at American University's Business School, in which the students practice giving speeches and presentations in front of dogs, as it's promoted: "Addressing a friendly and nonjudgmental canine can lower blood pressure, decrease stress and elevate mood - perfect for practicing your speech or team presentation." Go to Article >