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What are the Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

Updated on February 15, 2013

Found Cats

Our three little feral outdoor cats.  The orange one is Fluffy, the black one is Macaroni and the gray one is Fuzzy.
Our three little feral outdoor cats. The orange one is Fluffy, the black one is Macaroni and the gray one is Fuzzy. | Source

Family Pets

For a wide range of people pets help fulfill their lives; it doesn’t matter if a pet is part of a large family or not. Many people also consider their pets as part of their family. They love and cherish that pet just like they would a child. In fact how many people do you know who actually refer to their pets as their children? They refer to themselves as the pets’ mother or father and even dress up their “child”.

Pets Paradise

My family lives out in the country and we have more than one pet; I joke that we have our own little farm because of how many animals we have. We have two dogs, a black lab and a Chihuahua; we also have an indoor cat. Obviously those are some of the more standard pets in our homes but that just addresses our furry indoor pets.

One disadvantage to living out in the country is it becomes a dumping ground for people to get rid of pets they do not want or cannot take care of anymore. In our neighborhood we have seen quite a few cats suffer this abandonment; I guess pets can bring out the best and the worst in some people.

We have kind of adopted a couple of these cats because having cats around helps keep the rodents at bay. A bag of cat food is more than worth it to have these cats keeping an eye on the place. It certainly doesn’t hurt that they are cute and sweet little cats who have really warmed up to us. It took them a little while to overcome their nervousness but now they let us pet them and even rub up against us when we feed them.

Our property is about an acre and we have dedicated portions of the land to our animals. We have a chicken coop with a few hens and one very happy rooster. We let them out every day and enjoy watching them scratch around the yard looking for yummy things to eat. I can also say that you haven’t seen anything until you see a chicken run; it is really one of the most entertaining things to watch.

Multiple times a day we take a peak in the coop to see how many eggs we have gotten for the day. Our local feed store guy told us that the average life span for chickens is around four years. We are assuming that this information takes into account predators and people “retiring” chickens who no longer lay. Our flock of nine chickens has five that are now seven years old, we still get an occasional egg from all of them but one. If you haven’t consumed an egg from your own free range chicken you are missing out, they are delicious and cannot be matched by something at your local supermarket in taste or appearance in the frying pan.

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Animals on Farms

Our farm has some larger animals as well. We have four equines, a quarter-pony, a thoroughbred, a Shetland pony and a white mule. The quarter-pony was a ten year anniversary present to my wife and she absolutely adores Meadow. They have an amazing relationship together and it was one of the best things I have ever bought for my wife.

My daughter was the proud recipient of the Shetland pony named Apache Dancer (Dancer for short). She is a very calm and mild mannered pony who really is a sweetheart. Watching this four hundred pound plus animal follow my daughter around the yard is unreal and a testament to how an owner can benefit from animal companionship.

Our animal variety doesn’t stop there; we also have three dwarf goats, one buck and two does. Our initial plan was to breed both of the females but one developed a rare abscess in her udder and, after surgery, she really isn’t fit for having kids anymore. We recently attempted to breed the other female but that didn’t end too well when the buck was delivered stillborn.

Cute Pictures of Animals

Our pet horses, Meadow is in the foreground, Apache Dancer is in the background.
Our pet horses, Meadow is in the foreground, Apache Dancer is in the background. | Source
Lilly and Hazel, our little milking goat friends.
Lilly and Hazel, our little milking goat friends. | Source

Pet Treats

Pet Abuse

Just like anything in life people show their bad sides when it comes to pets but I believe that, for the most part, people love and appreciate their pets.

Like the cats I mentioned above, people somehow feel abandoning their pets is a solution to not being able to take care of them anymore. Maybe they can’t feed them anymore or have to move and their new residence will not allow pets. For too many people the easy way out is to just drop them off somewhere and let them fend for themselves. This is not a humane solution to the problem.

These house pets are domesticated and are not used to having to find food on their own or protect themselves from other animals. This is one of the primary reasons that animals in captivity, like the zoo, can never be released into the wild; they just don’t know what to do to stay alive.

Our white mule Charlotte was supposed to be a temporary thing but years later we still have her. One of our friends volunteered at a local animal rescue center and Charlotte’s owners we not taking care of her and about a dozen other horses. The shelter seized the animals because they were all in some stage of poor health and/or poor nutrition.

We started feeding her and, after many months, she finally got to what we would consider to be a healthy weight. She came to us with a homemade rope bridal that we had to cut off of her; it had been on her so long that the knots actually had become fused together and we couldn’t untie it.

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Adopt Pets

Don’t be afraid to become the owner of a pet. Sure you will have some work to do but the rewards are completely worth it. Once you establish a relationship with your pet the bond becomes strong and you will probably not know what to do without them in your life.

Pets have some kind of sense that can help you when you had a bad day at work or aren’t feeling too well. Both of our dogs will come up to us and offer their heads after a long day at work and it is such a calming thing to just scratch their heads. We appreciate how they are there for us, regardless of our moods, whenever we need a little help decompressing from whatever we are dealing with.

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    • picklesandrufus profile image

      picklesandrufus 5 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      I love this hub. You are such a good person to house so many animals. Being a huge animal lover, I can appreciate the work it takes as well as the joy they give you. Really enjoyable read. Vote up

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      picklesandrufus - thanks for the kind words. We love our animals but they are a bunch of work. We wouldn't trade them for the world though. I would love to win the lottery and open up an animal rescue facility.

    • profile image

      Chris Hugh 5 years ago

      Pets are great. I have sleep apnea and stop breathing if I sleep without my machine. Not long ago I drifted off without my machine and Twitch, my cat, kept gently patting my face. He wouldn't stop until I put my mask on. He's a hero!

    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Great article, I can only speak from my personal experience, but I would have to say that my dog has certainly bought the best out in me. She's softened me and taught me about having responsibilities to anything that is vulnerable and in need of care.

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      Chris - How scary! It sounds like you have a great pet partner there. I have so many stories about pets waking their owners up during fires or other emergencies too. Here in California we have earthquakes and I have seen first hand how dogs feel them before we do.

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      JKenny - Thanks and I concur. We had a yellow lab/border collie that we adored. We had to put her down because of kidney failure way too early but she was amazing. The kids were little and they would climb all over her, she didn't care. If my wife wasn't feeling well she would sit right next to her. When we put her down my mom and mother in law both felt the same emptiness at the same time, even though they both lived over an hour away. That is a pet that touched the hearts of many.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      What a nice tribute to pets as part of the family. I know there are studies about the therapeutic value of having pets, and many hospitals and nursing homes have resident dogs or cats to keep the spirits up for staff as well as patients.

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      Marcy - thanks. I would definitely have to attest to the power that pets have when it helps us humans get through our crazy days.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      What a great Hub. We have a 10 year old Shih Tzu and she is certainly a member of the family. I don't know we'd do without her. Thanks God for people like you to take in and care for those animals that have been abandoned. They do bring out the best in most people. Thanks for sharing.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      This is such a nice article. I think pets usually bring out the best in people. People who have pets, have compassion and empathy. Children learn responsibility and compassion from have a pet. Many older people need pets for companions. Most of us just love animals! They show us unconditional love. We have 2 dogs and 7 baby chics now. I am still in the process of naming the chics! :) Voted up +. Have a wonderful day! :)

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      bdegiulio - Thanks for your comment. As many animals as we have around here we might as well consider them part of the family.

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      sgbrown - Both of our kids have chores that are directly connected to the upkeep of the animals.

      When we name our chicks the kids usually pick a theme. One year it was foreign cities and another was food names...the irony of that theme was astounding. Enjoy the chicks and thanks for your comment.

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      This is such a beautiful hub. I am a huge animal lover, and we've had pets since forever in our family. Animals have just as many rights as humans, and should be cared for with the greatest respect - they are more clever than some are given credit for. Thanks for sharing and introducing us to some of your family members :) Voted up and shared!

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      MelChi - Thanks for sharing and I'm glad you are appreciative of our little animal friends. Too many people take them for granted so it is always nice to hear from people who don't.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      I LOVE this hub! My next hub is going to be about rescue animals, and I will definitely be linking your hub in mine!

      Great job! Voted up and across! (and shared)

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      Mmargie1966 - Thanks for sharing and I'm glad you liked it. Animals can provide us so much joy and happiness but seem to be so easily abandoned, it really is a sad problem.

    • Turtlewoman profile image

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      This is a beautiful tribute to animals and animal lovers. Pet ownership is definitely beneficial, yet all the hard work is well worth it. My fiancé and I have a pitbull and we treat him like our first child. Spoiled and receives a lot of attention. We take him everywhere with us, even Yosemite. Over the years we've added another dog, some fish, shrimp, turtles, and chickens. My dream is to eventually move into a bigger place so we can foster pitbulls from our local shelter. I would also love to have some dwarf goats too. Your two goats and quarter ponies are so cute and fascinating! That is a great gift! And you're absolutely right, dogs can sense how we're feeling that day and can provide companionship and are much better than therapy!:-) great hub!

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      Turtlewoman - Thanks and well said! I couldn't agree with you more.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      It was wonderful to read about all your animals and picture living with so many. I only have one dog, which is a big step up from not having any animals before that.

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 4 years ago from Northern California

      Millionaire Tips - We certainly do have our own little farm here, thanks for reading and commenting.

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