Last week was National Pet Week, a time to celebrate the pets in our lives and even to reevaluate how we are doing as pet owners, pet lovers, and even for those of us who love them from a distance. So, now that the week is over, how are we doing for the rest of the year?
There is no way of getting around it, pets are a massive responsibility and should be treated as such. The number of pets we now own are showing that we understand this, dropping dramatically over the past few years. While this may be a sign that we are taking the responsibility seriously, it may also be a sign of “too much red tape” combined with our constantly shifting, moving, and changing lifestyles. Where younger families were once the primary market for pets, many are now opting out.
With the money, space, and time we are now expected (and want,) to give to our pets, many pet owners and pet lovers have been using technology to fill in the gaps. Pet sharing has become a necessary piece of the pet care community, allowing pet owners to find people they trust to be with their pets when they cannot, while also helping people who can’t own their own pets to be around the animals they love.
Pets become a vital part of our lives and our families. They support us, care for us, love us, and teach us in more ways than we can describe. The lessons we learn from having animals around us, both as children and adults, are invaluable. They bring some of the most important moments, relationships, and learning opportunities that stay with us throughout our lives, something we cannot replace with hobbies or after-school activities.
We can all learn from the animals around us, using these lessons in our daily lives a bit more often.
Be present. We’re all so busy thinking of what will happen tomorrow that we often forget to think about what is happening right now, in this moment. Take a few moments each day to breathe and just look around. See what happens.
Love as unconditionally as we can. Animals often show us how to love without walls, expectations, or judgements. Imagine how our worlds would change if we could show that kind of love even to ourselves. If we could master loving ourselves fully and completely, maybe then we could then show that kind of love to others: without walls, expectation, or judgement.
Make time to rest. Pets often give us the reminders we need to rest, to take care of ourselves, and allow ourselves the space to just be.
Be responsible. When we are caring for another being, we are reminded of how much bigger our actions are than just impacting ourselves. We can often forget how tied to one another we are and that our potential for caring for one another is larger than we think.
Play and be silly! Pets often witness us being our true selves, in the moments other people don’t often get to see. They let us share our playfulness, without judgement. Pets can help us to bring our joy and silliness, leaving everything else on the side.
Whether we have them in our lives at this moment or not, pets have the great potential to impact our lives in ways no one else can. We can take this responsibility seriously by learning from them, growing from what they teach us, and sharing that knowledge with others.
Share your experiences, wisdom, and thoughts on pets in the comments below! We can’t wait to hear them.
Photo by Teddy Kelley