A Month for Myself…Pets (Day 22)

I think you will be hard-pressed to find someone who truly dislikes pets. Sure, they cause messes and get into trouble occasionally, but most days that is nothing in comparison to the joy and companionship we receive in return.

My husband and I currently have a couple fish and a cat named Fred. We hope someday to be able to have a dog of our own, and we tried fostering a dog recently, but our cat was not having it and neither was the dog. It was hard to admit that we may not be in the right place in our life to allow for that commitment. We both love dogs and have grown up with them.

Growing up, my family had a golden retriever, named Amos and a lab/retriever mix named Daisy. Daisy was the first dog I really recall having a strong relationship with. She was still really a puppy when I was young, and I remember watching her go from being incredibly hyper to sensitive and loving after she suffered through distemper. If my memory serves me correctly, my mom essentially nursed her back to health. It was really hard to watch, but she did recover and went on to become the family dog in all senses of the phrase. I loved her so much–I would tell her all of my deepest darkest secrets, and she would follow us everywhere. At the end, she developed a strong relationship with my sister’s cat Mercy, and she was with her until the end. It was incredibly sweet. I still miss her.

My first dog was an English Springer Spaniel named Lady (Lady Sadie, technically). I got her when I was just a kid–probably like ten or eleven. I remember how hard it was the first few weeks. She slept all day and peed everywhere. And then when we put her in her kennel, she whined all night. I struggled with so much guilt when I heard that. But then as she got older, she calmed down, learned how to pee outside, and turned into a sweet, gorgeous dog. She passed away a few years after I moved away from home, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve been through. At the time that it happened, I was getting my shoulder tattoo done and had them add a ladybug to it because I had always called her my Ladybug. I think of her every time I see it.

Today my parents have two dogs: a jack russell terrier mix named Emma and a mini Australian shepherd named Jules. My parents had never had dogs in the house before, but these two somehow snuck their way in.

I miss having a dog, but Fred (our cat) is a pretty good substitute for the time being. My husband and I rescued him from the ASPCA a year ago. He’s missing a few teeth, drools, and sheds everywhere, but he’s a sweetheart. He doesn’t bite unless he’s hungry–and it doesn’t hurt because of the no teeth thing. And he LOVES to cuddle. It’s probably his favorite thing, after food.

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Pets are fantastic companions and can bring so much meaning and love into your life. They’re also great for reducing stress and anxiety. Hell, Fred even goes so far as to recognize when I’m upset and wants to cuddle with me. Or maybe he just wants to cuddle, period.

Pets can also increase the amount of exercise we get (if you take them for walks) and reduce depression, and there are more benefits listed below, so spend some time with your pets (or someone else’s)…for your health.

10 Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health

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