WHY WE LOVE OUR PETS

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A very unique rush of love is experienced when looking into your pet’s eyes…

… Or just the one eye, for that matter, as was the case with Maria Williamson and her puppy, Bear.

A few days after Williamson had lost an eye from a bullet wound in a car jack, a 4-week old puppy had been attacked by a bigger dog and consequently also lost an eye from a bite to the head. When she was informed about the incident, Williamson immediately made arrangements with the Animal Rescue Foundation to adopt Bear and take him in. Their parallel plights led them to an understood companionship, and as Williamson put it, ‘like me [her], he is a survivor. We are not victims, we are survivors who get to share our story.’

It’s not just their story that they’ll be sharing. The age-old bond between human and animal will come into fruition, with the latter getting free food, shelter and belly rubs, and the former getting… Hmm. There’s a thought. What do we gain from having pets?

Dogs have been by man’s side for thousands of years, and are listed as the oldest domesticated animal. From guide dogs to guard dogs to herding dogs to police dogs to dog actors, they hold a number of roles in society. However, most other species don’t have any particular occupations. You don’t see parrots manning traffic congestion or squirrels doing your accounts. So why do we really need pets?

#1 We want love. –  French poet and novelist Anatole France had said that “until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Love is addictive, and humans will have it in whatever form it comes. We especially like it if it comes in the form of a little furry bundle with questionable hygiene. It’s there to greet us after a hard day’s work. It rubs up against us, licks us all over, and it will at some point have an amorous romp with at least one part of our body. Let’s face it, we get more action out of our animals than actually getting laid.

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#2 They know no evil. – It’s not in the animal kingdom’s nature to be vindictive. Sure, killer whales toy with half-dead baby seals and cats push breakable objects off tables, but that’s just instinct. It’s killer whales enforcing their status in the food chain and cats just being d****. If they harm another, it is not borne out of vengeance, but out of instinct. Their ability to love however, is as potent as their sense of survival. How many videos have we seen of Great Danes allowing kittens to sleep on top of them? Or of nursing cats offering warmth to ducklings? How many stories have we heard of abusive owners whose dogs stand by them no matter how many beatings they get? Animals just love as if it were the most natural thing in the world, because in their world, it is.

And so therefore…

#3 Your children can learn from them. – Don’t worry, they won’t start peeing on the carpet or bringing in dead prey in their mouth as presents. However, there are so many benefits to having a pet around the house. You’ll be able to assign duties to your kids, such as dog walking or feeding, which instills a sense of responsibility and shared management. Parents who raise their children to love animals nurture qualities such as compassion, altruism and patience. By raising a child in the presence of a pet, you’ll be raising an animal lover, and there cannot be enough of those in the world.

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#4 Entertainment – Before I say anything else, physically abusing your pet is not entertaining. It’s sadistic. However, so long as you’re not inflicting discomfort or pain onto your pet for your pleasure, you’re all right. Admittedly, many will argue that dressing your pet up in costume can be uncomfortable and distressing for the animal. If you are going to dress him/her up (I don’t like using ‘it’ when referring to animals), make sure any attire is not too snug or digging into the skin. Only leave the costume on for a short period of time and if you notice that your pet’s not handling it well, remove it immediately.

Having said all this, a cat in a bikini or a strategically shaven Persian is piss-your-pants hilarious. Just go crazy with the video camera and watch the Youtube hits soar. It’s not just costumes, either. Pets will come up with the most random and unexpected antics and noises. Have you ever seen a pet trying to walk when the anaesthetic hasn’t worn off yet? My sides hurt for a week. And if your pet’s ok with it, especially if it’s a cat, try giving them a bath. Words fail me every time…

Why do you love your pet?

Let us know in the comment section below.