Research have shown that besides being cute, cuddly and adorable companions, pets have an uncanny ability to teach us human beings certain moral attributes better than any other person can. As a pet owner for the most parts of my life, I can agree with absolute confidence on this point. Since I can remember, I have kept a myriad of pets such as fishes (heaps of variety), terrapin, quail, couple of hamsters and rabbits, and multiple other small critters. Till today, I’m still sharing my home with my pet cat of 7 years. Although every pet owner have their fair share of unpleasant stories of the mischieves committed by their pets such as ripped sofas, bad potty habits, broken vase, etc. On the contrary, there are valuable positive life lessons from owning a pet.
In general, pets are great teachers of responsibility. And especially so for children. The ownership of a pet brings with it huge responsibilities. Unlike stuffed toys, pets require daily feeding, exercise and playtime, not to mention grooming and potty time (and the cleaning up thereafter). The amount of energy, time and money invested to maintain a pet requires a tremendous amount of care and commitment. Learning to take care for another living creature will hence nurture one with the value of responsibility.
Opening one’s heart to a pet, whose a non-judgmental living creature, is definitely way easier as compared to another human being. As a result, pets can be wonderful confidants. One can simply share their sorrows, anxiety and stress in the comfort of their furry companion. And very often, solutions to problems can be discovered by simply speaking one’s mind. Moreover, by sharing these inner thoughts, one is encouraged to communicate and embrace vulnerability. The first few steps to take to learn to trust oneself as well as others. Therefore, pets are great at teachers to gradually bring down the walls and learn to trust again from past debacles.
Companion animals, especially dogs, are superb at educating us what unconditional love really means. They would never judge you no matter how much money you make, how you dress or what kind of car you drive (or even the lack of one). And they are glad to see you home in one piece and are often the first to greet you wholeheartedly. Even if you accidentally hurt them (sometimes I’ll step onto my cat’s feet in the dark by accident) during a grooming or nail clipping, they always forgive you. All they need is simply your attention, food and shelter in return for their company.
This is true unconditional love that a pet can teach you.
Caring for a pet requires compassion, kindness and patience. One has to also learn to be empathetic enough to understand the basic needs of another living creature. As we humans do not have the ability to converse with animals, one has to diligently pay close and constant attention to comprehend their pet’s thoughts, emotions and physical wellbeing which could easily be neglected. Therefore, to prevent the suffering of one’s pet in silence, makes us rethink how we treat animals in general. Compassion is a difficult attribute to comprehend and attain, but a pet could inculcate in us this ability to empathize with others.
One of the easiest ice breaking tactic is to bring your pet our for a stroll in public. People will naturally gravitate towards your cuddly and furry companion. And definitely in the process interacting with you too. Hence, one is “forced” into socializing with people from all walks of life; hone one’s social skills.
Pets ownership are also a common topic to ignite a conversation. For instance, owning the same species of pet could easily connect people through the discussion how to manage their pet. Having a unique pet could pique the interest of others to initiate a conversation. Or even just by owning a pet in general, is easily relatable by other pet owners. Pet related subjects are easy conversation starter.
Research have also shown that pets can provide more than companionship. It can also help create human-to-human friendships and social support which are good for long-term health. Pets are a marvelous catalyst for making friends and improve bonds between family members.
Teachers of Emotions
All in all, pets are excellent teachers of soft skills and moral values. And not forgetting the health and mental benefits reap from having a pet. They could improve our quality of life. Although they may not have the ability to impart any tangible hard skills, those attributes taught by our pets can indirectly impact our career lives for the better.
However, before getting a pet on impulse, I’ll urge you to question and analyze if you have the capacity to be a responsible pet owner. If you do, the ownership of a non-human companion could be an incredibly rewarding experience.