PC Leader Tim Houston today announced a $500 tax credit for individuals who adopt a dog from a recognized adoption agency. It’s another piece of Houston’s health-focused platform that pledges more doctors, more timely mental health supports and a commitment to long-term care.
“The health benefits of pets, particularly dogs, are undeniable,” says Houston. “In recent years, studies have shown these animals can help their owners battle depression, stress, loneliness, anxiety and can even help improve their owners’ physical health through encouraging exercise.”
Houston says after a difficult COVID-19 pandemic, this policy will make a difference helping people navigate back into physically and mentally healthy routines. Dogs provide much-needed companionship for some older adults, especially during and after extended periods of isolation. One study even found that when those people living with borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure declined significantly within five months.
In addition to health benefits, animal advocate Tracy Jessiman says it’s a sign Houston wants to build a more thoughtful and compassionate province.
“People who adopt are saving lives by rehoming a dog that may have a deceased owner, may have been abused or neglected, or may have become a victim for financial reasons,” says Jessiman. “I want to thank Tim Houston for his thoughtful initiative.”
In their last annual report, the SPCA reported taking in 6,993 animals. Humane Canada reports that approximately 27% (1,888) of those animals are dogs and approximately 47% (887) of those dogs are adopted each year.
“My family and I have been rescuing dogs for years. We currently have two rescue dogs - Nash and Winnie.” says Houston. “I know the value they provide to mental and physical health.”
Patients of heart attacks who have dogs, have been shown to survive longer than those without. Dog owners over the age of 65 make 30% fewer visits to their doctor as compared to those without pets.
“This is a small but important piece of a platform focused on the health of Nova Scotians,” says Houston. “From smoking cessation programs, to kids activity tax credit, to recruiting doctors and providing free Universal Mental Health Care, there is only one party that is putting forward solutions to a healthcare system in crisis.”