The bond between a pet and their owner is one of the strongest relationships in any person’s life. Pets rely on their owners to keep them safe, fed, and loved. Depending on the pet, they may show their loyalty in different ways, but owners know that there is significant trust and love in that relationship. Pets listen to our problems, encourage their people to get more exercise, and provide unmatched companionship.
This blog is part of our series at www.IWantToSaveALife.org. Be sure to check out the other articles.
Many of the pet owners we meet are disabled or retired, and their pet is the only daily companion they have. For example, Goose the cat's owner deals with MS every day and his support helps her fight off loneliness and depression. Some of the families we help include special needs children. Beauregard the dog helped his autistic human brother communicate and make connections. Pets literally save lives as service animals or by alerting families of fires. The gifts our pets give us are endless.
It’s not uncommon for people to refer to pets as their “best friend,” “fur baby,” “child,” “sister,” “brother,” or a “member of the family.” These phrases are not just for fun. They are a true indication of how owners feel about their pets.
Think about your schedule? Time to feed your pets, take them for walks, clean litter boxes, and play are all part of your day. That room you make in your day and your heart is appreciated and recognized as much by your pet as yourself. When pet owners make plans, it always includes consideration of their pets. More than one person has left a vacation early because they couldn’t bear to be away from their pets.
When a pet gets sick or suffers an injury it affects the whole family. A responsible pet owner budgets for pet food and essentials, but anyone living paycheck-to-paycheck can be undone by an emergency veterinary bill. Costs range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands. Veterinary offices will give the owner an option to put the pet to sleep or surrender the animal. These owners cherish their pet as their family. They wouldn’t tell a doctor to put down a human family member because the medical bills are too expensive. Owners in this situation grapple with feelings of fear, despair and guilt over not having the funds available. When a pet dies, no matter what the situation, it’s heartbreaking. We all know a person who would say, “It’s just an animal.” But, anyone who has truly loved a pet knows that this loss is as hard as losing a close friend or family member. People who are grieving the loss of a pet deserve to be taken seriously.
Pets bring a unique sense of purpose and friendship to their owners. The common saying, “Who rescued who?” is a direct result of the way pets change human lives for the better. Even in the prison system, we see the benefits of dog ownership and how pets can help rehabilitate inmates. Having a family pet helps teach children responsibility and compassion. And I don’t know a person who isn’t happier to talk about their pet than just about any other subject. The smile on someone’s face when you say, “Oh! You have a dog/cat! Tell me about them.” is a representation of pure happiness.
Pets show us how to love unconditionally and give from our hearts. In that way they make the world a better place with every bark, meow, and attention-seeking bat of the paw. Give your pets an extra hug or belly rub from us tonight.
Please visit www.IWantToSaveALife.org for more details on how you can help pets and their people.
For The Love of Alex Inc is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides emergency funding for urgent and lifesaving care of pets of low-income families.