Comfort for Critters

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Lessons from our Pets - Part 2!

My humble list continues with many more lessons I’ve learned, sometimes the hard way, from my pets. I’ve cared for just about every type of pet you can imagine, and have learned and enjoyed every minute along the way. Well, for most of those minutes! See if you don’t agree with learning about true beauty and caring from the pets in your life.


Beauty is defined by what’s inside me, not inside the magazines – Have you ever looked into the eyes of a Shar Pei or Mexican Hairless dog? I have, and it never fails to make me smile. Their beauty comes from looking just exactly how God intended, and doing a brilliant job of it. Beauty, being in the eye of the beholder, is illustrated by our pets more anything else in the world.

As your kitty ages, or your dog develops yet another “hot spot” do they become less beautiful? Quite the opposite. We see in our pets the creativity of our creator and sheer perfection in difference. For some unfortunate reason, this view doesn’t always apply to the human race. We sometimes value one skin color, or dress size, over another. Hmm.

I’ve learned from my pets that if you judge them from what’s on the outside, or even from what the world has to say, it’ll be to your own detriment. You’ll never learn that a pet rat can actually lay it’s head on your feet and gaze up at you with affection or that a five foot snake can bring out the nurturing side of a six foot teenage boy. 


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.

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