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Columns : The Pet Pages - Kim Aranha Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Why do we love our pets so much?
By Kim Aranha
Jan 22, 2008 - 9:51:51 AM

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All over the world people have pets that they absolutely adore. Furry, feathered, scaly, slithering, flying and just plain cuddly, pets form a huge and very essential part of our society, and mental wellbeing.

How did this all start one wonders? And why do we become so very attached to these wonderful creatures who cannot talk to us, yet, appear to be able to communicate a myriad of desires and emotions to us on a consistent basis.

How wonderful of God to give us companion animals, who can complete our lives, and give us yet another reason to love and be happy! Nature is certainly a remarkable thing!

There is something so very special about a young child and their pet. I remember when I was a young girl, I found a very scrawny potcake behind St. Anne’s school in Fox Hill, and he couldn’t have been more than a few months old. I took him home and he devoured three cans of corned beef before I emptied the contents of my Mother’s fridge. “Friendly” became an integral part of my family. He was a fierce protector of all of us and lived to the ripe old age of fifteen. He was my friend, my confidante and my very best buddy. We took him to live in the Berry Islands with us and he explored all the shallow sea holes on the sand banks with me, he would sit patiently under a tree whilst I climbed it, and would willingly partake in all my childhood make-believe games! He believed in me when, even I, had my doubts and when he died, I was a young woman of 24 years old, and I cried like a baby, because I had lost my best childhood friend.

Now I am older, I find that the bond between pet and owner has not changed much over the years. I am now more the provider and care giver, to that beloved pet, but in return, I receive the most pure and unconditional love that I could ever ask for. What delight and happiness when I come home at the end of the day! On the other side, what a sad little face they put on when I bring out my suitcase for a trip away. Buddy has been known to go as far as climbing into the suitcase and sitting there looking SO forlorn! But I would not have it any other way because, I love them and they love me, so much, in return.

The words “Mummy can we keep him” have always pulled at my heart strings, I have never been able to say “No”, and over the years we have had a wonderful and varied collection of pets, all of whom have been dear friends and have left their mark on my life.   

Sometimes, in the morning, after they have pushed their noses up against my leg to ensure that I am still alive, and then when I move, to their ruptured delight, they cover me with licks, I sit up and look at those wildly wagging tails, and it makes ME feel good to see how HAPPY they are. They demonstrate such absolute happiness just to be alive and to exist, I find it to be very contagious, and it always makes me smile when I look at them, wagging away. It really is the “joie de vivre”.

Your pet never argues with you, but, at times he is very capable of showing you his displeasure and communicating to you that he is not happy with certain decisions that you have made on his behalf. In spite of his displeasure, he still loves you best of all.

And, isn’t it nice, to tell him all your problems? And to be listened to with such devotion? He never interrupts you, and is always in total agreement. Should you be upset and shed a tear or two, your pet is always the first one to try and brush it or lick it away. He will pull little antics to make you smile through those tears and to make you feel good. They always understand, sometimes before the humans, that something is wrong. All they want is to make you smile.   

There are puts who help the physically challenged. There are pets who help the blind, and the deaf, there are dogs who can warn their owners before the owner has an epileptic fit! More and more animals are learning roles to help make their humans live better and more productive lives. The magical link between pet and owner grows by the day, as more and more people come to appreciate the value of having animals in our lives.

Some researchers say that petting and stroking your dog or cat can release endorphins. Endorphins are (and I quote from the internet) “endogenous opioid biochemical compounds” produced by the pituitary gland and produce a sense of well being in the person. Studies have been made and it has shown that in many cases, close contact with animals can decrease high blood pressure and help heart attack patients recover. Many hospitals and recovery centers now use animal therapy to help cancer victims, the elderly, troubled youths, and patients recovering from catastrophic illness. If you have a pet at home and you enjoy having it around and stroking and loving it, you will probably be able to benefit from these same endorphins that hospitals seek for their patients. Many medical people will go as far as saying that owning a pet (and loving it!) can lengthen your life. The trick is loving it, just the presence of an animal in the house is not the trick, it is only, if you love that pet, then it is the emotions that you feel that trigger off the “magical” responses in your body and mind that CAN make you live a longer and healthier life!!!!

I simply can’t imagine what life would be like without pets. I am unable to understand people who do not like animals. I am sad for them because they are missing out on so much in life. I would be lost without all my wonderful and varied pets.

There is a wonderful saying that says, “A pet makes your life whole, but, you are their whole life”.

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