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Pets – Why do so many people keep pets?

There are many reasons why people have pets. Some people have pets for their playfulness, others for companionship or other unique personalities and characteristics.

“Pets are humanizing. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve and nurture and care for all life.” –  James Cromwell, American Actor

So, what’s our favourite / most common pet… well, according to statistics, the most popular individual pet owned in the United Kingdom is the dog, with 25 percent of people owning one. In total, 40 percent of the UK population own a pet.

There are many benefits to having a pet. Pets can help their owners relieve stress and loneliness. When you get home from a stressful day at work feeling exhausted, there is that loving pet waiting by the door to welcome you home, tail wagging, indicating their happiness at seeing you enter the house.

When you sit down on the sofa and turn on the television, there is that little fluffy animal who jumps on your lap and meows at you.

Keeping pets can help reduce anxiety and enhance your mood. According to medical research, pets can decrease their owners’ cholesterol level and lower their blood pressure.

A study in the U.S.A revealed that watching fish swimming in an aquarium has a calming effect and helps to lower blood pressure which is why you find a fish tank in most doctors’ waiting room in America.

In addition, pets such as dogs help to keep their owners physically healthy. Research has shown that older people who regularly walk their dogs, walk faster and for longer periods and have better mobility in and around their homes.

Pets also enhance their owner’s opportunities to meet and socialise with other pet owners, thus enlarging their circle of friends and enriching their lives.

In some cities in China, many retired people carry their bird cages out for a walk to a nearby park in the morning. There, they gather around with many other bird keepers. While the birds are socialising by singing with one another, their keepers are socialising with each other too, which is beneficial to the birds and their owners, both mentally and physically.

“I think having an animal in your life makes you a better human.” – Rachael Ray

Having pets encourages a sense of responsibility. Unlike wild animals, pets depend on their owners for food and shelter. Parents can take the opportunity to teach their kids to become more responsible by letting them keep and take care of their own pet.

Children in general love to play with pets. Growing up with pets can improve children’s social skills, it encourages responsibility and can also help them to develop compassion, understanding and respect for all living things.

Research has also shown that children growing up in families with cats or dogs are less likely to develop allergies and tend to have a higher immune system down the road.

“Animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.” – George Eliot

For some people, having a pet helps to boost their self-esteem. Pets are not “snobbish” or “prejudiced” against their owners because of their social status or their appearance. Whether we are rich or poor, good-looking or not so good looking, overweight or underweight, pets do not care, they love their owners unconditionally.

What’s your favourite pet? If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what would it be? Maybe a cuddly Koala bear or an elephant in your garden.

Have fun thinking of some of the awesome animals you’d like as a pet!

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