As an ‘only child’ to my parents, I am often subject to those wretched ‘tch tch’ noises that people insist on inundating me with. Sans sibling, they all mistakenly assume my life must’ve resembled the Thar – dry, barren, boring. Well, far from it, I grew up in a world populated by flappy ears, sloppy kisses, wet noses, playful bites, wagging tails, the patter of paws and… love unlimited. I grew up in a world (which, at one point, comprised seven cats, two parrots, a few chickens, 15–30 rabbits and 11 dogs) in which I was always surrounded by at least five pawed and clawed loyal subjects who’d patiently listen to my tall tales. They played king, queen, prince and princess in my elaborate plays. When I was given a telling to by my folks, my precious pooches would crowd around me and comfort me – they would even refuse to heed my parents’ commands for the rest of the day. And, my sick days never really felt sick, simply because of the company I was in.
Fast forward to now, I still look forward to coming back home to my beloved pet/s every morning, when I leave home for work. So, if anyone should write a piece on the benefits of having a pet at home, I decided it’d have to be me!
- In this e and i-Age, kids don’t get as much physical exercise as they should. More than 90 per cent of urban Indian kids are unfit! But, when you have a pet at home, it is impossible to not be physically active - unless your pet is a fish. Walks, play time, chasing, getting chased… it’s the most fun way to get fit.
- Trained dogs can recognise subtle behaviour or body language changes that accompany seizures, and warn the people of an oncoming attack.
- Pets know exactly when you need them the most, and will be there for you, snouts on lap.
- A study found that pet owners’ hearts adapted better to stressful situations, leading to lowered risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Worried that your child will suffer from all the fur pets leave behind on carpets and upholstery? Well, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger! Studies show that being exposed to pet dander early on in life can help prevent future allergies.
- Children who grow up attached to their pets are likely to feel more connected to society and relationships. They are happier, later on in life too.
- Is your child socially awkward? The company of furry friends is just what he needs, as they make for amazing social facilitators. ‘Hey, is that your dog? Can I touch him?’ The start of a friendship…
- Having pets at home can teach children a thing or two about responsibility. Tell them to take charge of one aspect - it could be changing the water, giving them food, taking them on walks, etc, and watch them bloom into responsible citizens.
- It can even urge your child to learn. After all, he wants to learn all about his baby’s breed and the other breeds out there. He will learn to ask the veterinarian questions pertaining to the pet’s health.
- Pets are known for playing the role of comforter to perfection.
- They give you a sense of security - making you less anxious.
- Watching pets in action is the best stress-buster! Even if it is watching fish swim around in a bowl.
- There is nothing like hug-your-dog therapy to beat the moodiest of blues. Also, studies show that physical touch is important to emotional health.
- They will give your child something to care for as their own.
- Friends might come and go for various reasons, but pets are a constant as long as they live.