Let’s face it, our pets do very little to care for themselves. I often joke that if I believed in reincarnation (I don’t), I’d want to come back as one of my pets. Their food is bought and prepared, their beds are fluffed and cleaned, their toys are arranged “just so.” Every day. Every stinking day.
I will admit to being frustrated that I have to deal with spit up or poop, other than my own, on a daily basis. Despite that, I love the feeling of caring for each of these “beings” I share my life with. Knowing my guinea pigs are excited about their giant lettuce leaves, or seeing my dog’s eyes light up because of a new toy she gets to destroy, brings happiness that just can’t be faked or bought.
It’s not surprising that senior citizens who live with pets, are far healthier and happier than those without. Numerous studies have shown that having a pet can reduce stress and blood pressure, even as it increases social interactions and physical activities. Pets have shown, over and over, that they help reduce a person’s depression and feelings of loneliness. Pretty awesome.
It seems our need to care for others is something we (thankfully) never outgrow. Even in our twilight years, our physical being and emotional stability benefits when we put ourselves second and clean up after, pet, or feed, our four-legged friends.