Some of you may know that I was a guest blogger on Samantha Warren’s site last week. Well, this week I’m lucky enough to have her step in over here. Today she shares some very important information about pets. I hope you’ll stick around and find out what she has to say.
Thanks so much, Samantha!
I’m a pet lover. There’s no denying it. Growing up on a farm, I’ve always been in contact with animals in some way or another. Right now, my furry children include two cats and a rabbit. In fact, almost everyone I know owns an animal of some kind, even if it’s just fish. And there’s a reason for it.
First, let’s look at a few stats. Not to many, since stats make my eyes glaze over.
- 63% of all households in the US own a pet of some sort.
- This includes approximately 75 million dogs and 85 million cats.
That’s a lot of pets! And it doesn’t include the fun interesting ones like rabbits, reptiles, or rodents. And fish tend to be a fall-back pet for people who can’t afford or don’t have the time for other pets, so I think that 63% might be a bit low.
Anyhoo, why do these numbers matter? Well, studies have shown (don’t you love when people use that phrase?) that pet owners tend to be happier and live longer than people who don’t own any pets. Sadly, I don’t remember exactly where I heard those two things, but they are often repeated and I firmly believe they’re true.
Speaking from my own experience, having a pet can change who I am, what kind of mood I’m in, in an instant. For six years after graduating high school, I didn’t have a pet or much access to animals. I was miserable. Being an introvert, I’m not the best at human interaction. I spent most of my time in the barn as a kid, reading to the cows (they do like it, I swear).
I got Miss Josephine in 2006. Pretty little Penelope followed in 2009, and I just acquired Bunny Boop this year. Like all children, they can get on my nerves, but in the end, it’s all worth it. When I’m having a bad day, nothing is more relaxing than sitting on the couch and having a cat curl up beside me. When it feels like the whole world is against me, they’re on my side, purring and giving me the love I need. They don’t care what I have or haven’t done. They don’t care if I’m not 100% perfect all the time. If I snap at them, they’re quick to forgive and forget, as long as I offer treats as a peace treaty.
There’s a new country song out. “Like My Dog” by Billy Currington. I think it explains why pets are awesome very well.
Pets are amazing creatures. They are the definition of unconditional love and if they’re treated the way they deserve to be treated, they can make all the stress and craziness of being a human worth it.
Now for a PSA due to some of the really sad facts I read on the ASPCA site:
Pets do cost money, and they take some effort. Some of them don’t require a lot. I refer to cats as the fish of the mammal world. They do very well in smaller spaces. All they really need are food, water (they love a constant trickle from the tap), a litter box, some toys, and a lot of love. Dogs require a lot more effort. They have to be walked several times a day and they tend to be more demanding attention-wise.
- Approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats).
- More than 20 percent of people who leave dogs in shelters adopted them from a shelter.
- The cost of spaying or neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for a year.
Pets are great, but if you plan on getting one, make sure you have the money and time to take care of it. They may be animals, but they deserve all the love they can get. While it may be cool to tell your friends you spent $1500 on a purebred something-something, keep in mind that mixes tend to be friendlier and have less health issues, not to mention they’re super cheap and that extra money can be used to take care of them. And if you do have a purebred, do us all a favor and get them fixed. There are enough animals out there who need homes without adding to it. And it greatly reduces the risk of them getting testicular or cervical cancer (yes, animals can get those too, even rabbits. My bunny will be fixed this summer).
Treat your pets like you would treat your children. They deserve that much and they won’t demand allowance or car keys.
Samantha Warren is a fantasy and science fiction author who spends her days immersed in dragons, spaceships, and vampires. With her pet dragon, Anethesis, she ventured to the ends of the universe, but the cost of space travel cut into her sock fetish fund, so she sold her ship and returned home. When she isn’t writing, she’s milking cows or trying to feed them Pop-Tarts. She spends a lot of time in her weed patch (aka: garden), watching any show featuring Gordon Ramsay, or posting random things on her blog (http://www.samantha-warren.com).