During prehistoric times, humans and animals have already been working together. Humans lived with cats, worked with horses, depended on cows for milk and chickens for their eggs, while giving them food and shelter. According to the College of Veterinary Medicine in Michigan State University, the working relationship between pets and humans began more than 15,000 years ago. Pets gave protection and performs services for humans, including hunting and farming.
But today, animals are seen more than work companions. We recognize their ability to give us happiness and fulfillment—things that we also get from our fellow humans.
Benefits of Being a Pet Owner
According to Psychologist, Roselle Teodosio, owner of IntegraVita Wellness Center, some humans treat their pets as family, which is why they call themselves “fur parents.” “Pets boosts our mental health because they give unconditional love and acceptance.” she explains. “When you say unconditional love, it means that there’s no judgement that takes place. Whatever your emotions are – if you’re sad, angry, disappointed, ranting or venting out your feelings, your pet only listens. They can feel our pain.”
Here are other benefits of caring for a fur baby:
They meet your psychological needs. Humans are social beings, and we crave for connection and physical touch. With the mere act of stroking our pets, we feel loved and enjoy a sense of belongingness. “It also increases your serotonin and dopamine levels which promote calmness and relaxation,” says Teodosio.
Hollie (the author) and her pets
They help you engage in physical activity. Pets, particularly dogs, require regular walks to stay happy and healthy. By exercising your dog, you also get to sweat it out, letting you get your dose of feel-good hormones.
Photo by Hollie Deles
They can lessen your social anxiety. Pet owners sometimes join support groups to help them better care for their fur babies. This allows them to expand their circle and form new friendships. Taking your pet for a walk may also encourage social interaction with other pet owners. If you have a difficult time making conversation, engaging in a familiar topic such as pet care can help you gain immediate empathy.
They strengthen your immune system. According to animal experts, pets can boost your immune system by introducing some bad bacteria in your system. This enables your body to fight these diseases, thereby making you stronger against colds and other mild illnesses.
They teach kids a sense of responsibility. Teodosio says that having pet at home helps kids to be more compassionate, and increases their empathy and emotional intelligence. By caring for pets, kids learn how to manage their time and to be responsible.
Photo by Tin Guarin
Caring for a pet
Pets spark joy, but you must remember that it’s a huge responsibility to take care of them. As Teodosio says, “A pet is there not just for your own pleasure. This is another life that you need to care for. A pet is not something you can just discard because you no longer find it convenient.” Before deciding to be a pet owner, ask yourself these questions:
Why do you want a pet? As previously mentioned, pets should not be reduced to their utility. Yes, dogs can guard your homes, and cats can make you feel loved, but are you willing to spend time—and money—to care for them? If you decide to become a pet owner, be prepared to be a responsible one.
Who will take care of it? If you’re working in the office, will there be someone to take care of your pet? Perhaps, a pet that requires less maintenance may be more suitable for your lifestyle. Remember that like humans, pets are living things that need food, shelter, water, exercise and companionship.
Are you financially ready? The costs of pet ownership can be significant. Aside from food and shelter, they also need medical care when they get sick. Some pets are high-maintenance and need regular grooming, which also costs money.
Can your living space accommodate pets? Some villages and apartments don’t allow pets, while others have rules on the size and quantity of pets. Before getting a fur baby, consult your subdivision or condominium personnel regarding this decision.
Is this a good time for you to adopt a pet? You may have just given birth to a baby and may not have the time to care for an animal. Or maybe you’re contemplating moving to another place—which means it’s better for you to settle down before getting a pet. Plan your decision well to avoid unnecessary stress for you and your pet.
Compared to humans, pets have much a shorter lifespan. Make their lives worthwhile by attending to their needs. It’s the least you can do in exchange for their unconditional love and friendship. Sharing your life with animal companions can bring incredible rewards as long as you’re willing to stay committed to them.
Photo by Hollie Deles