For most of us, a four-legged friend is a great companion to come home to, a pet, someone to go for a run with and pay attention to. And who doesn’t love the dog licking us or the cat playfully biting our ankles as we pass by? For those of you who had an animal grow up, I’m sure you have a couple of fun stories about feeding them veggies under the table.
So what can a pet do for you? Why is adopting a pet so important and how can you really improve your quality of life? Unfortunately, during the recession, many people are unable to keep pets due to the great financial responsibility they have. Because so many animals are placed in local shelters, there are many more good reasons for those who can adopt a pet to adopt.
I know what some of you are probably thinking. An animal is a great responsibility. And they are a great responsibility. They cost a lot of money – vet visits, pet supplies, and food, just to name a few. Pets, especially dogs, also require a lot of attention. However, those who own animals know that the time, energy, love and money that goes into caring for animals is definitely worth it.
For starters, it’s been shown that pets can dramatically improve our quality of life by lowering blood pressure and stress levels. There have also been many cases where an untrained animal was able to detect some deadly diseases like cancerous lumps that were not previously found. It is especially good to have a trained animal if you have a serious medical condition, such as epilepsy.
Personally, when I’m feeling depressed or just having a bad day, having an animal around is good for improving my mood. I’m sure all other pet owners can attest to this. While some anti-pet folks would say that having a pet around is a bad idea because humans need something to control (yes, I’ve unfortunately heard this argument before). I would say that is not the case for most pet owners. Having a pet around me is not about controlling something, but for me, it is about having the unconditional love and joy that a pet will bring you.
Unconditional love for a pet is a great thing for those who have experienced many abusive situations. Whether it’s true or not, you may have heard of how Jaycee Dugard and her daughters underwent ‘horse therapy’ to help her cope with her new situation. However, what is certain is that animals are excellent for emotional support. Animals are also ideal for other types of therapy; for example, as a treatment for Asperger syndrome.
Having a pet doesn’t have to be limited to smaller beginner animals. Horses can be a good hobby for those interested in larger animals. Owning a horse can seem intimidating, but the stable offers a place to house them and can even teach you how to care for them. Horses are great for riding, moving around, and competitions of all kinds. The best part is, depending on where you live, horses may be available for those who are just looking for riding lessons and don’t have to deal with the hassle of owning one.
Animals are also great to keep around the house for other reasons. If you have children, having a pet around can be a good way to help them develop. Children will learn to interact with animals and, in some circumstances, will learn social skills from them. This may sound a bit strange, but this behavior is called shaping. Kids who are good with pets are proven to be good with people too; On the other hand, an early warning sign of violent behavior in children is the abuse of animals.
Children can also develop a sense of accomplishment and responsibility when owning a pet. To give you another example from my life, I grew up in a small town and 4H was a group that children used to join. At 4H competitions, my classmates often brought the animals they helped raise and some even won prizes, much to my envy. Even if you don’t live in a small town, check out the local 4H competitions you may have in your town or city and see how some of the children feel about their animals. You may be surprised.
However, having a pet doesn’t have to be a big reason. A dog can also be a great motivator to get out and run around the block, a cat can be a good companion to snuggle up to while watching TV, and a bird can provide a good tune.
Whatever you end up deciding is a good reason to adopt an animal as a pet, I hope you check out your local shelter. There are many good animals looking for a second chance to love someone new.
I wrote this article because I have a great passion for animals and animal rights. If you have any general questions about how a pet can improve your life, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Or you can tell me about the wonderful pet you have already adopted and how it has changed your life. I hope to hear from you.