THE LATEST THINKING
The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.
Why should you own a pet? If you are on the fence of adopting, perhaps I can persuade you to do so.
On Wednesdays I go volunteer at a local animal adoption shelter. I can’t have any pets in my apartment, and this gives me the opportunity to give back to the community while still getting to play with the adorable fuzzballs. They do an amazing job at the center with social media and events, so the pets do not usually stay more than a week before being adopted.
But why should you adopt? Why go through the trouble of having an animal? Pets are not cheap. A dog can cost an average of almost $13,000 by the end of it all. Is that too high for the price of companionship? Not sure. Pets are also a lot of work. Trips to the vet, the pet shop, walking the dog, cleaning out litter boxes, etc. But that comes with the affection of your furry friend. Is it worth it? I think so.
There are conversations out there that pets are not worth it. And if you listen to them in a very unbiased point of view, they make some sense. They leave a huge carbon footprint. These are organisms that have evolved for no other purpose, at least most of them, but for companionship. It’s a footprint nowhere near as big as the meat industry, but still considerable in itself. There are also ethical comments that can be made about having pets. Is it fair to take away another organism's autonomy? Is it okay to objectify them the way we do? Would the animals be happier if they were free and not held in captivity at all?
These are all important questions that scholars have given answers to that are too complex to discuss here. What I can say though is having pets have helped many people surrounding me. A friend of mine has found purpose in her life by helping at animal shelters and adopting some cats she rescued. When work got tough a few weeks ago, a co-worker took in two foster kittens and raised them until they were big enough to go into adoption. Another friend needed the companionship of their pets after being raped and left alone in a new state.
They are also beneficial during the good times. Studies have shown having pets lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. They help with social interactions, balancing moods and immediately becoming part of a community. We have worshipped them in the past and have started to do so again in the present. It’s a kind of mutual symbiotic relationship we have evolved with them.
Regardless of where you stand with pets, they are beneficial to the owners and the community as a whole. If you have the time, I urge you to volunteer at a local shelter. If you have a pet already, go hug them and thank them for being there for you. If you don’t have a pet, do yourself a favor and look up funny cat videos. And please share.
PACC adopted out 317 pets, including 183 dogs and 134 cats.