Soothing is the contented purring of a friendly cat – its companionship helping me forget my problems and warming me by its cozy comfort. Assuring are the fixed, faithful eyes of a loyal dog – its devotion beckoning me to be master of its life, though my own life sometimes sways out of control.
Experiencing life with a pet brings a dimension to our lives like no other. My teenage daughters whine when they feed our outside dog in bad weather, learning that responsibility often means doing things you don’t want to do. Their octogenarian grandpa grins when he pats the recliner seat next to his lap, expecting his petite, black cat – getting on in years – and gathering enough “oomph” – to jump up beside him for a mutual snooze.
There’s no question that pets have a profound effect on the lives of their humans. They give us love, companionship, and relationships that help fill our lives. National Pet Week, observed this year from May 7-13, is a celebration of those relationships.
From a humble beginning in 1981, with no funds and no materials for promotion, it has expanded into a nationwide event. Its goals are to enlighten the public about the importance of responsible pet ownership and to promote veterinary medicine.
Veterinarians have the unique position of being the only doctors trained to protect the health of both animals and people. They are educated to meet the health needs of every species of animal and to also play a role in environmental protection, food safety, and public health.
Being a responsible pet owner requires proper health care. We should consult a veterinarian whenever we have a question about our pets’ welfare. A comprehensive selection of online brochures on pet healthcare, provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association, is available at www.petweek.org.
According to one survey, 83 percent of pet owners refer to themselves as their pet’s mom and/or dad. I don’t fall into this category (I’m thinking many in this group don’t have children). That same survey says that 63 percent of dog owners say “I love you” to their pet at least once a day. I’m guilty here, except I’m talking to our cat (shameful since I don’t always tell my real family members as often).
MORE PET STATISTICS
– American spending on pets nearly doubled in the last decade
(more than $34 billion a year).
– An estimated 52 million dogs and 57 million cats live with U.S. families
– Slightly more male dogs are owned than female dogs.
– Slightly more female cats are owned than male cats.
– For every human born, seven puppies and kittens are born.
– Animals spayed or neutered make up 72 percent of owned dogs and 84 percent of owned cats.
– Animals adopted from a shelter make up 18 percent of owned dogs and
16 percent of owned cats.
– More than 12 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each year.
Millions more are abandoned in rural and urban areas.
– Spaying and neutering will help reduce the number of unwanted dogs and cats.