The Love of a Pet

To this homeless man, his dog is his entire world.  (Photo by Beverly Lussier)
To this homeless man, his dog is his entire world. (Photo by Beverly Lussier)

Awkward Love Between a Drunk and His Dog

People adopt pets for hundreds of reasons. Maybe it's just what they've always done or maybe they want a companion. Some people like to adopt pets from shelters because they feel like they are saving a life (and they are). Others might want something to take care of but be unable or unwilling to have children. And many people have a passion for a specific species or breed of pet.

And what do the animals give us in return for taking them in? Everything! To a pet, his owners are his entire world, his day and night, his providers, his be-all end-all.

Mutual love between a girl and her blue-eyed cat.  (Photo by Ginger Garvey)
Mutual love between a girl and her blue-eyed cat. (Photo by Ginger Garvey)

No One Wants to Be Alone

Dating is rough, and family can be grating on nerves. Friends don't always get along, and roommates almost always encroach on your territory.

It's often said that the only family you can choose is your dog (and your spouse, though they don't tend to be as easy to get along with), and it's true! From the day you bring a new pet into your life, that pet will consider yourself its family and would probably go to the ends of the earth for you.

Who else voluntarily wakes up from a nap, drops a toy, or abandons his food to jump up and greet you happily when you get home?

Golden Retrievers are a common breed for service dogs, but there is no breed or species requirement for animal assisted therapy.
Golden Retrievers are a common breed for service dogs, but there is no breed or species requirement for animal assisted therapy.

Animal Assisted Therapy

Almost any well-behaved domesticated animal can become a therapy pet, and many do! These pets visit hospitals, hospices, and anywhere else that sick people seek treatment.

Dogs are the most common therapy animals because of the unconditional love that they offer to almost everyone they meet. A long-term patient with few regular visitors will have her day significantly improved when her favorite Dachshund or Great Dane comes for cuddling and kissing!

Animal assisted therapy is extremely popular in children's hospitals. The kids might be used to seeing their own pets at home and are therefore overjoyed to be visited by similar animals. I know that I, personally, would be indescribably happy to be visited by a loving companion animal were I stuck in a hospital situation.

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Common Knowledge

But pet love is not just for those of us in hospitals!

RealAge.com counts having a loved pet as making your "real age" (how young or old you are based on factors beyond just numbers) much lower and therefore helping you live longer.

Forbes.com lists "Get A Pet" as the fourth thing of Ten ways to live longer, noting that pet-owners have lower blood pressure and higher survival rates of heart attacks.

So it's no secret that having the unconditional love of a pet (and this comes with little to no effort from you) can lengthen your life tremendously... assuming you don't step off the curb in front of a bus or something.

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Comments 16 comments

Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai

Truly said. For me, they are my children, to play and exchange love with easily. I suspect that having a frisky pet around will keep us dynamic and add years to our lives. It will atleast make the quality of our life better. :)

Thank you.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

My dog are definately treated like my kids. I told my mom my APBT pup was going to be treated like a dog from now on, but the following day I brought home a new toy. My mom laughed at me.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

Kenny -- Thanks for reading! For sure, even if our lives are cut short by some outside source, animals at least improve the quality for the time that we're here!!

Whitney -- But dogs get new toys, too, right? ;) Thanks for the comment.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

Very nice hub. Pets are a fine source of unconditional love that we must care for well.


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

Thanks for stopping by, Patty. I aprpreciate your kind words!


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney

I was very sick after three operations in the early eighties. Rex the Doberman guarded the door so no one could come in and kidnap me. He would shake hands with the kidnappers. Midnight the cat

Thought I had neglected her all the time I was in Hospital, would not talk to for the same time

span. One certainly knew who their best friends were in the low times

Thanks for good ghub


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

In the toughest of times, our friends' true colors shine. Thanks for sharing your story, Mr. Marmalade. I enjoyed your weighing in, as always!


Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai

And I'm glad that I came back and read it! :)


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

We have 2 large dogs,one came from the humanes society and the other came from the street,he had been abandoned.Came to our home within 12 hrs. of one another. I cook for them everyday and they get Christmas gifts + all the other holidays. They are light in my life. Our street dog was tagged as Foster Child and this dog makes me laugh. I can be worn and grouchy and he seems to always know how to crack me up...Love these boys. Excellent write on the love of pets.


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

As Kenny said my cats are my children too and i love them so much and they give me so much joy and owning pets are so good for your soul..


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

Yes, Helena dogs need toys too, but those kid-dogs with a bagillion toys don't need one more when they become a real dog. Ha... Sadly, she's still sleeping on the bed. I can't bare to part with my sleeping partner. She and my yorkie rule me. :-(


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

C.S. -- Thanks for telling us about your dogs! Sometimes they seem to "find" us, don't they? And letting them into your heart can be the best thing you ever do.

compu-smart -- "good for your soul" Exactly!

Whitney -- It's SO hard to get up with your boy and your dog are happily cuddling in your big, comfy bed... I didn't realize you had a Yorkie, too! What an adorable pair!


*Meghan* profile image

*Meghan* 8 years ago

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this hub!! I am such an animal lover and they, too, are my children! If I had the means and the space, I'd adopt every animal in the world - it's so fabulous to see someone speaking positive about all these wonderful creatures that are so loyal and loving!


helenathegreat profile image

helenathegreat 8 years ago from Manhattan Author

i'm always so glad to see when other people out there are passionate like I am, Meghan. I would LOVE to adopt every homeless animal if I could! Thanks for reading and the great comment!


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

I have Kittys not doggys!

I am now watching my kitty go balistic with his new catnip cat toy and it is so pleasurable to see the fun it gives...

Helenthegreat..You will have to leave some for us:)


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

Very good hub about the importance and healing power of animals in our lives. I have always had companion animals since I left my childhood home, and the love and affection they'have given me; and I gave in return, is priceless. thank you for an eye opening hub; educational and caring. PS.. I have many kitties and they are as amazing and satisfying a pet as dogs...I have dogs, too, of course. I really like that you feel you'd adopt as many homeless animals as you could; wouldn't that be great if everyone felt this way? Love 'em all!

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