Earlier today, someone cleverly named "Anon" left the following comment on my recent post Things I’d Love to See in My Lifetime.
Because of their brief lifespans, too much emphasis on companion animals isn’t good for a society or an individual. If Snickers is already five, he’ll be dead in about seven years anyway.
My first thought was "that was mean" but, then of course, that may have been the point. Luckily, I can’t be baited quite that easily. My second thought was "oh my god, the last five years of my life have been so great because of Snickers. If that continues for another 5, 7, 10 or 12 years, I will be so grateful!!!!"
I was recently drafting an entry about HSUS and PETA and their drive to wipe out companion animals altogether, but when I read this comment I decided to have a discussion about the benefits of companion animals first.
I’m sure there is a ton of research that I could look up, quote and link to about therapy dogs, animal assisted activities, search and rescue dogs, bomb and drug sniffing dogs, cancer sniffing dogs, service dogs for the blind and disabled, police dogs, etc. I may create a page on the site for that later, but for now, let’s talk about the benefits to ourselves, our families and society that we have personally experienced from having our pets in our lives.
- Animals create community. Snickers pulled me out into my neighborhood in a way that hadn’t happened previously. I connected with more people and made some incredible friends.
- I spend MUCH more time outside and active than I did before having Snickers.
- I’ve become a more emotionally engaged and empathetic person because of my relationship with Snickers.
- I’ve become a better listener and communicator (with humans) because of the effort I’ve put into learning to communicate well with my pets.
- I’ve helped brighten the day of numerous developmentally challenged children and adults, because Snickers needed a job and took me to places I never would have visited without him.
So, who wants to go next?