Pets - life begins when you get one! Or at least a better life! And that's the truth. It has been proven that pets help their owners live longer, happier, healthier lives.
How do we do that? Just look at all the things I do for my mom!
1. I provide companionship. Now that all of the other kids are grown and gone, Mom spends a lot of time alone. Dad is often busy with other things. I keep her company during those times. She loves to talk, and she talks to me all the time. We read together, watch TV together, walk together, play together, and even sleep together. I love my mom and she loves me. As long as we are together, we are never alone.
2. I guard the house. I know I am very small, but I am brave! I guard the house from all kinds of things. And if it is too big for me to handle, I bark loud so Mom hears me and knows that something is around that shouldn't be. And of course, when I bark, the others join me! Often just the noise of all of us barking will scare the intruder away!
3. I make Mom happy. I can tell when she is sad. We pets, especially we dogs, can sense that. And whenever I see that she is a little bit sad, I will jump up in her lap and cuddle. Or sometimes I will dance and make her laugh. But I will do whatever it takes to make her smile.
4. I help her teach the grandkids things. When they come visit, the get to help take care of me and the others. This teaches them how to care for things that cannot take care of themselves. It teaches them responsibility and compassion.
5. I help babysit. Speaking of the grandkids, I help take care of them. When she is busy in another part of the house, I play with them or sit with them. I sometimes sleep with them at night to guard them or just to keep them company.
6. I help her business. Lots of the designs in her CafePress shop were inspired by me!
7. I hunt. We live in the country so I hunt for mice and rats and moles and anything else that might get in the house. Mom does not like these things in the house and so I hunt them down as soon as they come in the yard - that is if the cats don't get them first! I am not like Bob though. I do not chase squirrels. I kind of like them!
8. I help Mom cook and clean up. Sometimes when she is cooking she will let me sample her latest recipe to see if it is good. Most of the time is is - but not always! And sometimes she will drop something on the floor while she is cooking and I will clean it up so she doesn't have to!
9. I help keep her warm. When it is cold in the winter, I will snuggle up with her in our chair and help keep her warm. I am not big enough to sleep on her feet and keep them warm like Ginger did. But I snuggle up as close as I can get. I must do a good job because sometimes she will make me move because she is too hot. I am a good warmer!
10. I help her stay healthy. She is losing weight and part of that is because she and I walk together whenever we can. We haven't been doing too much of that lately. It's been raining so much here, I'm afraid I would have to learn to swim if we came to a puddle! But when it is nice, we both get our exercise by walking together.
It is not just dogs that are good for you. Many different kinds of pets can be helpful. Pet owners have been found to have lower blood pressure and make fewer doctor visits than non-pet owners. Children raised in homes with two or more pets are less likely to develop asthma. Pet owners are also less likely to suffer from depression. So if you want to have a better life, get a pet!