Get a Pet to Be Happy!

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Pets can be a great source of happiness for us humans.  In fact, studies show that people with pets are happier, live longer, and are more fulfilled in life. 

There are many reasons for this, as I’ll discuss in a minute, but first let me say that having a pet is not for everyone. 

If you do think it might be for you, though, it is important to know the reasons you want a pet, realize the responsibilities associated with it, and understand the kind of pet that’s best for you.

Are you a “dog person”, for example? Or is a cat more appropriate for your personality and lifestyle? Or is neither the right fit for you - so perhaps a bird, rabbit, fish, or ferret is better.

Whatever the situation, it's a good idea to consider a pet as one option for increasing your happiness.

Here are just some of the many benefits of owning a pet (and some reasons why they can help make us happier):

  • Pets can be lovable and playful, providing a sense of connection and enthusiasm to life, which is especially pronounced for people who live alone and suffer from loneliness or boredom.
  • Like any human relationship, there can be a strong emotional bond for many people (and for the pet as well).
  • Pet ownership can provide a sense of purpose and responsibility, giving extra meaning and fulfillment to our life.
  • Certain animals can provide physical and emotional assistance and guidance for people with various disabilities or special needs.
  • Many pets become true “friends” to their owners, providing companionship and connection.
  • Certain pets can help provide security and protection, contributing to a better sense of safety, well-being, and peace-of-mind.
  • Pets can help provide exercise and various other health benefits to people who need to exercise or just get out and “move”.

Another not-so-typical example of how a pet can improve life is provided by that of my wife and our previous dog, Sunny – a beautiful, smart, gentle, loving Golden Retriever (sadly, Sunny died recently).  Here's my wife, Jill, with Sunny...

Every week she would take him to the children’s ward of our local hospital to play and just hang out with the sick children.  Some of these kids were very, very sick – many even terminally ill – and it was amazing how just an hour or so with Sunny would brighten their day (which gave my wife lots of joy, happiness, and fulfillment, too). 

Believe it or not, she even experienced times where kids who were in a coma would “react” positively to Sunny’s presence.  Parents would tell her that it was the most they had seen their child respond to anything since they were in the coma.  It was truly amazing.

So, you see, there are many ways a pet can brighten your life and the lives of others.

Again, though, even with all the physical and psychological benefits of owning a pet, it is not all fun and games. Depending on the type of animal you choose, pet ownership is usually a significant responsibility (which, as mentioned above, can also help provide a positive sense of meaning and purpose).

Just make sure to consider it carefully. Some things to think about before getting a pet:

  • Be sure you want a pet for the right reasons. Many times people will get a pet thinking it is an opportunity to make them walk each day, but in time they might grow tired of the routine and fall back into their old sedentary routine – ignoring the needs of the pet to get out and play.
  • There is generally a financial component to pet ownership, so make sure you can afford one. Some things to plan for are food, bedding, travel accessories, toys, cages, and veterinary bills.
  • Make sure you are going to be comfortable cleaning up after your pet. Some pets are easier to care for than others.
  • Consider your age, and the age of the pet to make sure it would suit your situation best. If you are a younger person and/or are prepared to spend the time and effort to train your pet and meet its activity needs, purchasing a puppy or other young animal might be a good idea. If, however, you are elderly or just not up for the responsibility of training, you may find an older, fully trained animal a better choice.
  • Understand the various other responsibilities of pet ownership and have a plan. For example, who will take care of your pet when you are away?  If it’s a dog you choose, will you be able to take it out for daily walks and multiple daily pees and poops?   

Yes, getting a pet can be a wonderful thing for many people.  It’s important, however, to understand all the implications and responsibilites of pet ownership.

If it’s right for you, consider it as a means to a better quality of life and find out for yourself why pets can help you...

BeHappy! my friends

Oh, and for some great info on pet ownership, here are some MUST HAVE resources to help you be better prepared and get the most out of your experience...


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