For those of you whose homes are free from the shedding of a four-legged friend, the next time your child brings home a stray and begs, “Can we keep him?!”, I highly suggest you acquiesce. (This, of course, assumes you don’t have a deadly allergy to pet dander and aren’t living in a pet-free rental.) There are many reasons owning a pet is a good idea. Allow me to elaborate.
First and foremost, pets calm you down. In fact, petting a cat or dog has been shown to lower blood pressure and resting heart rates. Even more interesting, stroking a four-legged friend for a while releases a hormone in both people and their pet to help them relax. My cat, Archimedes, sometimes even pets me back.
Along with helping their people relax, pets often have a calmness that aids in sleep. Speaking as someone who suffers from insomnia, there are times when the only way I can sleep is if my cats are purring beside (or, often, on top of) me. It’s almost better than taking a sleeping pill. If there is one thing cats know, it is sleep.
Pets can also energize us. Taking the dog for a walk, playing fetch, grooming — all of those things help create a healthy, active lifestyle for people and their pet. My cats, Magellan in particular, often help me in my workouts, and by “help,” I actually mean “hinder.” I usually have to exercise around them, in spite of them, over top of them, or while using them as weights. But, they keep me on my toes and help my coordination and balance.
Furthermore, Archimedes does play fetch.
Another reason to own a pet is they can distract people from boring, tedious jobs and make life more fun. Mine, in fact, help me correct my students’ papers, aid in my reading and planning for the week, and promptly let me know when I have done enough for the day.
Pets provide unconditional love. They are always happy to see their people, no matter how long it has been or how much they have destroyed in the house in all those long, empty hours they were home alone. And, if for no other reason, you should own a pet for the company. Life is never dull when a fur-baby owns you. Peace and love.