Of Mice (or Dogs) and Men

Guy and DogDid you know that over 60% of all households in the United States have a pet? Pets are hugely important to us, and we spend billions of dollars a year on grooming, food, and health care for our furry little friends. Pets are a big deal, and rightfully so. They can help us through emotional hardship and provide a source genuine companionship in a way that a human can’t.

My best friend is an eight-year-old miniature pinscher named Sophie (and like all proud dog owners, I think my dog is more awesome than any other dog.) I think many of us who get pets do so because we have a need for companionship. In my opinion, humans aren’t meant to be alone. Both dogs and cats are used in therapy, and service dogs are a common feature in our society. There’s even a show called “Pitbulls and Parolees” which is about how dogs are used to help former inmates adjust to society. There are even studies going on to determine if certain breeds of dogs can detect early stages of cancer in humans.

Pets are also a great way to teach kids about responsibility. Children can learn how to take care of another living being by helping to make sure their pets are fed properly and receive medical attention when necessary. (My dog ate rat poison when she was a puppy, so be prepared for surprises!)

It also seems that pets are part of the human condition. Since the dawn of civilization, animals have been by our side. For example, farm work and herding was very hard without a dog around. It’s true that human-animal relationships probably started out of mutual need, but even the emperors of ancient China bred the Shih Tzu and Pekingese purely for companionship. The Aztecs bred the Chihuahua for companionship, too.

People are just drawn to animals-whether for their utilitarian uses, their beauty, or for companionship. If you’re planning on getting a pet, be sure to do some research on the breed you’re thinking about to make sure that you can adequately care for the animal and give it a happy and healthy home.