Saturday, November 5, 2011


Growing up we always had pets.  We had both dogs and cats that usually were some stray that we took in or one someone was giving away.  They were an important part of our lives.  They taught responsibility, compassion, the facts of life (new puppies and kitties) and gave us extra love.  After leaving home, I always had a dog and/or a cat (birds, lizards, mice, etc raising boys).  I currently have two little Chihuahuas that fill my life daily with laughter and love.  I call them "the girls" since they are both little females.  I never come home to an empty house.   They are there to greet me and give me immediate attention (or demand it for themselves to be honest).  Where ever I am, they are sitting beside me, or on top of me, or sleeping with me.  They are my constant companions.  They are lying at my feet as I type this.  One is actually on my foot for the warmth.  I always have someone to talk to and they are very good listener seldom talking back.
Chica left and Mia right waiting for me to get home and peeking out  the window

I think that every child should have a pet.  If they have allergies, then there are allergy free pets like my grandsons’ lizard, 4 chickens and hermit crabs.  They also have two dogs.  It is their responsibility to provide all of their care daily.  It is a good life lesson. 

Pets can actually have positive effects on peoples' health also. They can benefit human health in surprising areas such as allergies, depression, symptoms of AIDs, heart disease, or high blood pressure.  Exposure to pets at a young age actually helps to build a child's immune system.  At the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, it has been found that Alzheimer sufferers have less anxious outbursts if they have a pet in their homes. People who have pets often have lower blood pressure readings than those individuals who do not, particularly if they are under a great deal of stress. Furthermore, heart attack victims tend to survive longer if they have a pet than if they do not. Men who own pets also have fewer symptoms of heart disease than those who do not have pets.  A Medicare study discovered that seniors who own dogs go to the doctor less frequently than those seniors who do not. Another study conducted showed that people who owned dogs and/or cats did not need to take as much medication for conditions such as heart problems, blood pressure, cholesterol, or sleeping issues.  Amazing!

I watched a TV show last night about an organization called Dogs Behind Bars.  The program places dogs in prisons and the inmates train dogs to sense when a soldier with PTSD is going to have an episode.   The program is helping soldiers coming back home from combat that are suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by giving them a dog that never leaves their side and warns them of a possible on coming episode.  The dogs are not only helping our injured soldiers but making a huge difference in the lives of men in prison. The prisoners talked about how important it was to give back and giving them a sense of value.  Pets do give us a sense of value because they depend on us as we do on them.

There is also a hard life lesson when you loose them.  I have had to put down animals that I’ve loved and it is so, so hard.  I had a little dog called Baba. She was a raggy little terrier mix that was given to me.  She had a bad ear infection and stunk terribly when I got her.  I took her to the vet and after she was better she bonded to me the rest of her life.  After my divorce, I remember crying a lot and her licking me to make me feel better.  She helped me through a very bad time so when it came time to put her down at the age of 16, I held my old black dog that had turned white with age while the vet gave her the shot and she fell asleep passing away in my arms.  I knew she did not suffer and she was not afraid being in my arms.  We were always there for each other.  There were many pets after Baba, all equally loving and special that filled my life with happiness, laughter, companionship, and unconditional love.  That is what having a pet is really about.

Baba  1976 in California. 

Be happy and God bless you and your pets.

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