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Adopting a dog may lower your risk of dying, according to a new study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a journal of the American Heart Association.

For people who’ve had a heart attack or stroke and who also live alone, having a dog reduces the risk of death by an impressive 33%.

While the study showed that people who already suffered a cardiac episode may benefit the most from a canine companion, the advantages don’t stop there. Dogs are great even if you haven’t had a cardiac episode because they motivate you to get up and walk. A sedentary lifestyle can literally be a killer. The research shows that 65% of dog owners lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease.

Having a dog in your life is also beneficial if you live alone. Loneliness is a major risk factor for depression and even premature death, but dogs provide friendship and unconditional love. And the more the merrier. Gonna give my pup a huge hug when I get home!