Sunday, July 7, 2019

Three Major Ways Pets Make Life Better

Recently, my husband and I—oh, alright, I—brought two more pets home.

He wanted to check out the reptile convention and I chided that we would only be going to look. As animal lovers, both of us, we should have known better than to expect we could leave without making a new friend. I was somehow surprised to walk out $300 poorer.

Once Penelope, the cinnamon albino ball python, and a tailless whip scorpion referred to as “The Nope” were set up in their respective tanks, it was clear they were always meant to be with us. Penelope provides me a challenge I’ve never found in my furry companions and The Nope (thrown in with the sale of my snake due to my husband’s interest in her) compliments the odd nature of our lifestyle and interests. They’ve both been a joy to add to our family and we’re looking forward to the longevity both will hopefully gift us with.

These two are the fifth and sixth pets to add to our household and we each have long histories of caring for animals. A home wouldn’t be a home without them. What is it about pets that makes them fit so well into our lives and hearts?

1. Pets provide daily and weekly structure.

Structure helps us plan our day and set up expectations. Pets have needs that tend to provide a daily structure which develops what the Blurt Team calls anchors for important points in the day. If the dog needs to be walked on your lunch break, it can get you away from your desk for lunch and reduce overworking. When the cat meows insistently for feeding time at 10PM, you know it’s time to get off of social media and get the evening routine wrapped up to go to bed on time.

Even at my lowest level of motivation, at my most tired, when I sincerely want to do nothing but stay in bed or on the couch, I know they’re waiting for me to care for them. I have to feed them, they need me let them run around or go outside to use the bathroom, and I must give them attention. Their needs give me something to focus on daily and weekly which helps me move forward and even ties into my own needs.

2. Pets provide companionship.

Most of the commonly kept pets are social animals, similar to humans. Having them around to interact with decreases loneliness. Further, they decrease stress just by presence alone but also when pet, and studies have shown a decrease in blood pressure with these interactions. Pets can also introduce you to other humans by way of being an ice breaker for conversation or literally pulling you in the direction of others.

I certainly never feel lonely with my pets around. The cats, in particular, never let me feel alone—even when I might need a bit of alone time like when napping, for example. It is comforting to know they’re around and they make the house feel full.
Most people who connect closely with their pets will tell you that a pet knows when something is wrong. Many a time have I been crying or stressed they've responded with extra cuddling, head boops, and nuzzling. They’re the best kind of friends because you don’t even need to tell them you need them, they’re just there for you.

3. Pets Can Improve Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to decreasing blood pressure, pets can also decrease cholesterol levels and lower triglycerides. Having too much cholesterol increases plaque build-up in the arteries which may lead to blood clots. Lowering cholesterol plays a protective role in health. Similarly, the lowering of triglycerides also can benefit the health of arteries. Not only are pets get fun to have around, they can be a truly healthy part of your life.

I could hardly make a causal statement regarding my health and having pets. I’ve been around pets my entire life. What is true thus far is that my cholesterol and triglyceride levels and blood pressure always check out during my annual. I suppose this is just as good a reason as any to thank my pets for being amazing.

Besides what the research or other bloggers have to say about the benefits of having pets, I have personally experienced so many reasons to love the pets in my life:
When my dog lies down in sun to bask in it rather than use the bathroom, it makes me laugh and take a few extra steps to fetch her. 
Often, my cats surround me while I write, providing compulsory petting breaks to appreciate their soft fur and low purrs.  
Most mornings, the ferret climbs to the top level of her cage to see me off for the day and I can’t help but smile walking out the door.
In the evenings, the snake is awake and adventurous. She enjoys exploring about my hands and arms, which fills me with a sense of pride to have helped her feel comfortable in a new space.
The whip scorpion…well, she freaks me out a little. Still, she is neat to watch and brings my husband joy—that’s as good as my own joy.

All that having been said. Pets are not for everyone and not every type of pet is appropriate for all people and lifestyles. I always try to do a great deal of research and consider the costs (time and financial) of any life I bring under my care.

It is important to go into pet ownership well-researched and prepared. While pets bring many good things into our worlds, there are also really good reasons some people can't or won't own a pet. There are some great resources out there describing pros and cons of pet life as well as specific resources for what to expect when looking into a particular type of pet. I've left a couple of general articles here for reference:

How have you benefited from your pet being a part of your life? Emotional support, health maintenance, responsibility…share in the comments!

Works Cited

CDC. “About Pets & People.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 Apr. 2019,

“Health Benefits of a Low Cholesterol Diet.” University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, 5 Dec. 2018,

“Low Triglycerides: High LDL, Diet, Symptoms, Dangers, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, accessed 7 July 2019,

Prince, Alicia. “The Pros and Cons of Getting a Pet.” Lifehack, 23 Oct. 2014,

Robinson, Lawrence, and Segal, Jeanne. “Mood-Boosting Power of Pets.”, June 2019,

Team Blurt. “The Mental Health Benefits Of Having A Daily Routine.” The Blurt Foundation, 8 Nov. 2018,

Tillerman, Leonard. “8 Top Reasons Not to Get a Pet.” PetHelpful, Maven Inc, Updated 4 June 2019,

Waggener, Natalie. “8 Ways Pets Relieve Stress.” South Boston Animal Hospital, 20 June 2017,

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