Welcome to 2012, and let's all hope for the best. Sandy, my mom, decided to “discuss” with me things we could do “better” in the new year. First, we have to lose a few pounds. Now Sandy weighs what she did in high school, so “we” meant me. It seems that more than 50 percent of all pets are overweight, which means almost 100 million dogs and cats need to cut out desserts and run more and longer. (Ever see a cat run very hard?) Second, we have to make sure we don't get any cavities or develop bad breath, so off to the vet we go. I didn't realize that my veterinarian was a dentist as well. Now I brush my teeth as regularly as I can with my paws and help from Sandy, but flossing? Gross!
While we are discussing resolutions, I decided to bring up a few for the humans. First, try and help all the homeless dogs and cats out there. I was once without a home or food and let me tell you it stinks! Thank God Sandy and I met and then rescued each other a few years ago. For those of you who don't have any animals in your home let me give you a few facts and personal opinions.
More than 50 years ago, the creator of “Peanuts” said, “Happiness is a warm puppy.” I couldn't say it better, and Snoopy is my favorite cartoon character with Pluto a close second. Anyway, here are some of the features and benefits of owning a pet. Studies have shown that pet ownership is good for mental health. Pet owners were found to have greater self-esteem and higher levels of exercise and physical fitness than non-owners. And substantially less loneliness!
New problem: with the internet, Facebook, Twitter etc, when do people actually physically interact with each other? Certainly not as much as just a few decades ago. You can't cuddle with a laptop. The more that pets fulfill human social needs the better the wellbeing of the owners. Being with your pet can buffer negative feelings from being isolated or rejected. Has anybody's dog ever rejected them? And what about children and their pets?
Numerous studies have proven that not only is physical activity greatly enhanced with kids, but pets also improve their mental wellbeing. For depressed children, a dog or cat may be their only real lifeline to feeling ostracized by other kids. Beyond fulfilling social needs, pets can be good for a child's development. They foster caring, compassion and responsibility. Pets teach people that relationships and love go both ways. These experiences can be carried throughout adulthood. Pets bring out humanity in a completely unique and unselfish way! So what have we all learned today and how can we help each other regardless of what species you may be?
Here is a simple math equation to consider. There are millions of dogs and cats that are homeless. There are millions of humans especially children who could use a pet friend. Voila! Lets all get together and solve two problems at the same time. Please consider helping the lonely lost animals that in turn can help you and your family. This is my 2012 hope and resolution!