By Lorie Ham
According to National Calendar Day.com February 20 is National Love Your Pet Day! This day focuses on giving extra attention to our pets and encourages people to pamper them and focus on the special place that pets hold in our hearts. An article on The Zebra states that a 2019-2020 study by the American Pet Products Association said that about 85 million American families (or 67%) own some kind of pet.
Not only can owning a pet be fun, but it can also be good for your health. The CDC states that
it can increase opportunities to exercise, get outside, and socialize. Regular walking or playing with pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. Pets can also help manage loneliness and depression.
Pets come in all different shapes and sizes to fit the needs of your lifestyle and your preferences. Dogs, cats, bunnies, ferrets, pet rats, fish, hamsters, snakes, guinea pigs, and more. Some people even have pet pigs!
In honor of National Love Your Pet Day, the staff at Mennonite Insurance would like to share a bit about their pets with you!
Michelle L. Heinrichs has a very chubby cat named Tigger. “He was found by our son when he was just a baby and is about seven now. His favorite family member is my husband Steve and if he knows Steve’s in the house, and awake, he often ignores everyone else. He is quite a stress reliever for all of us as he brings silliness when he plays with my son and husband, and he likes to cuddle with all of us. It instantly reduces your blood pressure to have a chubby cat flopped on you and purring while making muffins.”
While Michelle doesn’t recall her first pet, she does remember that they always had a cat growing up and have always loved cats. “It is probably a good thing that I have allergies and my husband cuts me off at just the one cat. I can imagine that I would want to have as many as I could find.”
Stephanie Heier wasn’t allowed to have dogs as a child and an unfortunate incident with a neighbor’s dog as a teenager caused her to develop a fear of dogs. But in 2012, a yellow Lab named Sophia changed all of that! Stephanie’s niece was living with her and wanted a dog. She gave in and let her get Sophia. “She became my walking partner and even though she was a bit wild, she grew on me so much that I even allowed her to come inside the house at times, something I thought I would never allow. She was also my dad’s buddy and helped my niece cope with her anxiety. Sophia was only with us for five years, however, the love she gave us was extremely appreciated and is still remembered today.”
Now Stephanie has two dogs of her own! Pixie is a six-month-old Cavapoo puppy, and Brutus is a 10-year-old Havanese. “We love it when they come snuggle up to us when we get home and they are SO excited to see us. And we love to watch them play together.”
While Dalia Jimenez doesn’t currently have a dog of her own, she is “grandma” to her son’s two Frenchie’s named Royve and Ruby. Unfortunately, she had a scary experience pet-sitting them in December. “They left me a new dog food that had Bison in it and Ruby was allergic to the Bison. She got all these welts all over so I had to find a vet that was open on a Saturday. They gave her a shot and some meds. She recovered just fine, but I told Ruby don’t get sick on my watch again. They love grandma. I make them scrambled eggs and mix them in their dog food. I love them like they were mine. They are a part of the family and very spoiled.”
Jerry Linscheid doesn’t currently have a pet but recalls some of the fun times they had with a Chihuahua that was a part of their family for nearly 20 years while their kids were growing up. “A couple of times we had an opossum in our backyard, and our dog would corner it and raise such a racket that we had to come out and investigate. The opossum was bigger than he was. He also kept the neighborhood cats away. I built a six-foot tower for him to climb so he could see over the fence. Pets are great teachers for children. Children tend to be very self-focused. A pet makes them realize that they need to consider their pet’s needs as well as their own.”
If you are looking to get a pet, adoption is a great way to go. According to the ASPCA 6.3 million companion animals enter animal shelters every year! Yolanda Hernández adopted a terrier mix puppy from the SPCA in 2018. “We named him Milo. We think he is a mix between a Yorkshire Terrier and Poodle. Milo took my love for a dog to a different level. We walk together, snuggle, and go to Home Depot. I take him on rides and anywhere dogs are allowed to go.”
We would love to hear some stories about your pets and how you will be spoiling them on National Love Your Pet Day. Feel free to share on our Facebook page.