Studies have shown that spending time with a cat or dog reduces stress and blood pressure. Walking your dog, playing with your cat, or sitting on the couch together are all soothing bonding experiences. Stress is also reduced when holding hands with or hugging a human companion. An animal provides a friendly companion that is always home and always happy to see you - especially when it's feeding time!
There are lots of animals in shelters. There are lots of no-kill shelters, but also many kill shelters - because there are just too many stray animals! They need homes in order to be saved. If you want a pet, and have the means to care for one, do not hesitate. You can save a life. One of my favorite sites for finding pets is www.petfinder.com . It is free, and you can search by all different criteria. They will tell you if the pets are good with other animals and children, and if they have special health needs.
Having a pet is a win-win situation: good for you and good for them! If you can provide a loving home, there is no reason not to get a new furry friend.