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Pets are slowing becoming an integral part of families, all thanks to the Covid 19 pandemic which saw a considerable surge in families acquiring pets. Of course, it did have adverse effects, in the sense, that, some of these pets were abandoned or given away as they could not be cared for by the “Hoomans”(humans – in pet lingo), who were tired of them and no more interested in keeping them. Therefore, it is imperative to understand that it is a life-long commitment and you cannot, just wake up, one fine day, and say, that you cannot keep your pet any longer as it is difficult to manage.

Having a pet to care for, comes with a set of responsibilities. The pet needs to be taken for walks to exercise and “do his business”, given proper food, taken for regular checkups to the veterinary doctor, allowed to move about the house without chaining it, given timely vaccinations and medication to prevent diseases, properly trained, and the most important to love it unconditionally as it loves us.

 Pets cannot speak but they have feelings, emotions, desires, and unconditional love for their “pet parents”. We need to understand what our pet means by its actions. Over some time, you will understand your pet as it will understand you.

Did you know that living with a pet has various physical and psychological benefits?

  • Physical fitness: Taking your pet for its daily constitutional walk or run, is a good way to exercise and improve your fitness. This builds up your stamina, makes you feel energized, exercises your muscles, and improves your health.  
  • Stress buster: Pets love us unconditionally and this teaches us to love them back the same way. The love you feel when your pet comes bounding up to greet you, as soon as you enter your home, is indescribable. This feeling of love, care, and warmth is very good at making you forget the reprimand from your boss. All your stress diminishes and you begin to feel calmer. This reduces blood pressure and normalizes cardiovascular health too.
  • Sense of purpose: If you are feeling depressed or sad, hug your pet and spend time with it. This makes you forget your sadness and improves your mood. A feeling of positivity will envelop you and remove your depression/sadness. In times of grief, your pet will stay beside you as it understands that you are facing a difficult time and will do its best to make you feel better. This provides you with a sense of purpose and you begin to view your life with a positive perspective.
Image: Pixabay
  • Companionship: Pets make you feel secure and wanted. Senior citizens or persons living alone with pets feel a sense of companionship and trust. This removes the feeling of neglect that such persons feel. “Animals keep you company when you’re lonely. It helps because, when, you have a friend around, who always likes you, no matter what –  it’s harder to feel bad or down”- Aaron Carter.  
  • Anxiety: if you feel anxious about something, turn to your pet. The love and care of your pet will make you feel better and reduce your anxiety levels.
  • Self-confidence: Pets are great listeners. They listen without criticizing/ judging us and love us just as much. This wonders our self-confidence; in case we feel isolated or misunderstood.

“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.”

Image: Pixabay

FUN FACT: A fun fact is that they understand any language in the world. So you can speak to them in any language, be it Hindi, Arabic, Finnish, or whatever, and they will understand you. This is very interesting as unlike humans, they are not taught the ABCs of any language, yet they understand us perfectly. It just goes to show how intelligent they are!

“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language”

  • Social network: Dog lovers can meet like-minded people while taking their dogs for walks/runs or in dog shows. In addition, training classes/workshops, pet stores, pet spas, pet vet clinics, and pet NGOs, are platforms where pet owners can meet new people and forge friendships. There are pet parties where the parents celebrate their pet’s birthdays. This is an upcoming trend, hosting birthday parties, and pet showers (like human baby showers) for pets. These activities provide a new adventure for the pets and their parents alike.
  • Routine: Pets need to be fed, and taken for walks, as per their schedule. This brings about a sense of discipline and a routine that is eagerly awaited by both the pets and their parents. The parents understand that they have to manage these tasks daily, without delay, hence they organize their day accordingly.
  • Manage high energy levels: It has been noted that people, especially children, with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) who have increased energy levels can channel their excess energy by taking their pets for walks, runs, or playing with them. This teaches the children to be responsible and care for their pets.
  • Autism: Pets provide companionship, calm, and reassurance, to persons suffering from Autism. These people can experience how their skin feels or how they sound/how they smell, thereby aiding autistic children with sensory issues.
Image: Pixabay
  • Therapeutic: Hospitals and nursing homes often use animals like canines or bunnies as therapy for their patients. Just stroking a pet releases the tension and makes the patient feel better.
  • FUN FACT:  Scientific studies that shown the positive effect of human and animal interaction on improved blood pressure, stress, and anxiety levels. iGA Istanbul Airport has launched a project wherein trained therapy dogs interact with passengers at the airport for relief from flight-related stress. This makes the passengers enjoy a joyous and stress-free travel experience.      
  • Compassion: Living with a pet makes a person more compassionate towards fellow humans and animals. We begin to understand that animals are living beings that require love and care. All they want is love. They do not need riches and fame. Our mindsight towards them alters as we look upon strays with a different perspective that their lives matter too.
  • Protection: Law enforcement agencies have recruited dogs who are specially trained to track down missing persons/objects, drugs, bombs, explosives, and criminals. Similarly, industries, companies, warehouses, and farmhouses, have pet dogs to guard their premises. They appoint caretakers to look after these dogs. Our pets can protect us, in case, there is any untoward incident like a burglary/ accident etc.

These are but a few positives that change our lives when we stay with pets.

A lot is being done for strays, whom we otherwise tend to ignore. There are many individuals, NGOs, Charitable organizations, and social media /WhatsApp groups working tirelessly for the safety and health of stray animals. The children should be taught in schools how to engage with stray animals.  Adults too, need to be educated about the same.

It is indeed marvelous how a pet changes our life. We are more responsible, happy, calm, compassionate, confident, healthy, disciplined, and evolving into better human beings.

A word of caution: please adopt Indie dogs instead of buying breeds. Some breeds like the Husky cannot thrive in our Indian climate. It is advisable to adopt stray pups/dogs from bonafide persons/NGO-s/animal shelters, rather than dog breeders. The life of stray dogs is another tale for another day.

“We can stop the cycle of animal homelessness and save lives by opening our hearts and homes to a loving cat or dog from an animal shelter”

the aartery chronicles

Ms Rupal Sonpal

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