The Impawtence of Pets

Image source: Contributed

We need the unconditional love from our pets more than ever to get us through tough times, and as Jackie Hillegers discovers, they really do become part of our families and daily lives.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself” – Josh Billings 

Never a truer word spoken – and that applies to all our big, small, scaly or furry pets! 

Kids and pets are just the best to watch interacting together – pets can help children become calmer, more patient, responsible and playful. However, it is important to think it through before purchasing a pet as it is a long-term commitment. Having to surrender a pet can be hard for you and your family, stressful for the animal and it puts pressure on rescue shelters to have to find them a new home. 

The joys of owning a pet come with additional health benefits including companionship and unconditional love – and they can also increase our physical and mental health. 

Dogs help us to be more active with regular walking and it’s hard not to socialise and meet new people while your dogs are sniffing each other. 

Pets can also help with depression and loneliness and they sense when you need them the most, quietly coming in for a much-needed snuggle. 

Patting an animal releases the feel good hormones, oxytocin and serotonin, and it can lower the body’s natural stress hormone, cortisol. 

In return for all these health benefits our pets need regular food, water, shelter and exercise which is a small price to pay for that happy dance your dog gives you when you walk through the door each day. 

The great thing about pets is – there is such a wide variety with different shapes and sizes to meet your needs. 

There is nothing like a contented cat purring on your lap to make you forget your woes. 

If you live in an apartment – fish can be extremely calming to watch and being a previous fish owner myself, I can vouch for the fact that they can actually recognise your face and get quite excited at feeding time. 

On the other end of the scale, horses can be therapeutic and calming and if you don’t have space or time for your own horse, there are places that offer Equine Therapy which can remove the pressure of owning a pet. 

Small pets such as lizards, birds, rodents, guinea pigs or snakes offer a similar emotional connection as dogs or cats, and can also help with depression and stress. 

Animals can pick up on your moods, they can tell when you are sick, anxious or depressed. They really are the most loyal and loving friends you can ever have and some pets play such a big part of our lives they become part of the annual family photo or Christmas card. 

Pets are so under-rated for their ability to naturally reduce stress and anxiety in our daily lives, so when you are having a bad day just look your pet in the eyes and the love you see staring back at you will melt your heart in no time. 


  • Pets do not judge us
  • They love us for who we are
  • They give us their time and attention willingly and unconditionally
  • They look at us with love (especially when hungry!)
  • They make us laugh
  • They sleep beside us for comfort and warmth
  • They give great hugs
  • Do not ask for much in return

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