Owning a pet is something that most of us are familiar with. Either we grew up with one or we have one now, an accepted part of our family.
The species in question does not negate the experience. There is something about becoming responsible for a pet that changes our brain chemistry – and can reveal more about us than we ever expected. From your standard dog breeds to the more unique domestic fox, the experience is uniting and universal.
So with that in mind and many years of prior pet experience behind humanity – what does it teach us about ourselves?
- Our Sympathy Knows No Bounds
It is often that that unconditional love is the ultimate in affection, and any pet owner will be familiar with how that feels. While we still debate whether cats feel affection or how dogs show us they love us, one thing we know for sure: we love them.
Looking at it from the outside, pet ownership sounds… well, just plain weird. There’s a creature. You don’t know the creature or have any link to it. The creature has no reason to trust you. It is full of instincts from the generations that have gone before; needs and desires so different from your own, so alien to you.
Then the two of you curl up on the sofa and watch TV together. Two totally separate creatures, united by circumstances, finding love and affection.
- We Can Take The Smallest of Gestures As Wonderful
You ask your dog for a paw.
Your dog gives you its paw.
And you’re delighted. Over the moon delighted; you have trained them to do something! And they remembered it! You immediately envelope them in hugs and tell them how wonderful you are.
It’s the small things in life that matter. This is magnified perfectly with pet ownership, when the smallest sign of following instructions and showing affection is welcomed as wonderful.
- You’re More Patient Than You Ever Knew
We tend to have our patience tested on a daily basis. Asinine online arguments, queuing in traffic and dealing with the general admin of life – it’s all enough to get on the seven million distinct nerves in your body.
On the flip side, with a pet, you have the patience of a saint. You can sit for hours teaching the same trick, giving the same enthusiastic praise, and never even flinch. You clearly do have a deep reserve of patience, but you keep it back for your pet rather than to calm yourself during the inanities of everyday life.
The above really are just the tip of the iceberg. The experience of loving and nurturing a pet, sharing your life with them, is unlike anything else is the human experience. It’s not like the partners we choose or the children you have – nor is it quite as profound. But it is wonderful in its own, strange but completely wonderful way. So if you’re thinking of taking the plunge or just want to bask in the loveliness of your existing pet, enjoy it.