By Gibron Rahim
OUR pets make us happy. At the same time, we cannot help but acknowledge that there is a great deal of responsibility that comes with owning a pet. They need to be fed, given adequate time and attention and oftentimes require some amount of financial investment to meet all their needs. Still, many of us would affirm that the pros outweigh the cons. Indeed, pet ownership imparts numerous benefits.
The Pepperpot Magazine spoke with Luana Pierre, owner and head groomer of Pawsome Pets, to learn about the responsibilities and benefits of owning a pet. The business is equipped to provide a wide variety of services to pet owners. According to Pierre, “We can deal with any animal but for now, it’s mainly dogs and cats of any size and breed.” The services provided at Pawsome Pets include grooming, haircuts and baths. Additional services Pierre noted, include deworming, vaccinations, microchipping, teeth cleaning, application of tick control medication and ear cleaning. All of these services are aimed at helping pet owners to meet their responsibilities to their pets.
Pet ownership requires investments in space and time. “Unless you have the time don’t invest in a pet,” affirmed Pierre. “If they can have all of your attention it’s a happier pet.” The need for space also cannot be overemphasised. Pierre pointed out that pets must have the required space to move around, noting that even animals reared for meat purposes require a reasonable amount of space. “The spacing also depends on the type of breed,” she said. She added, “If you’re prepared to exercise the pet daily, take them for walks to the seawall, park, etc. to exercise then they may not require excess space at home.”
There is also a financial aspect of pet ownership. Pierre pointed out that it is similar to having a child. Just like with children she said, “You have money set aside for boarding and medical expenses, it’s basically the same [with pets].” She was also sure to add that, just as children are not financial burdens, neither are pets. The financial expenses incurred by pet ownership, as well as the time and space factors, are also dependent on the type of pet one chooses to own. She related that more exotic pets require more finances for their upkeep. And different pets understandably have different attention and space requirements.
Despite the challenges, the benefits of pet ownership are undeniable. The benefits outweigh the challenges, according to Pierre. Speaking about dogs, she noted that the phrase stating that dogs are man’s best friend is actually true. “You can lay all your burdens on these pets and they will love you the same,” she said. Noting that we have been observing Breast Cancer Awareness Month this past month, she related that she has read several articles about animals and the way that they can help with recovery and depression in patients with cancer.
There are new findings from research on our relationships with our pets every day. Pierre explained that new research on dogs seems to suggest that they are able to detect cancer cells before symptoms are apparent or visible. Dogs, she said, are currently being used to help children with autism and to detect when epileptic patients are about to have seizures. The suitability of dogs as service animals has been well established. Additionally, “Pets, on the whole, are described as being very supportive in persons with depression and terminal illnesses,” Pierre noted.
Pierre herself has seen real-life examples of the way a pet can change its owner’s life. She recalled that one of her clients has named his dog after his wife who he had lost to illness. “It is helping him recover from his loss and some depression,” she said. “He loves her with all his heart.” Another of her clients is a local radio personality who had suffered through cancer. “She used cats as her therapy to recovery and the last time we visited she had 17 cats,” related Pierre. “She loves all of them and talks about them with great pride.”
Affection for pets can even develop in the most unexpected way. Pierre recalled that one of her clients originally had no great love for dogs. Nevertheless, the woman decided to get one for her children. Unfortunately, the animal became ill and she took him to the clinic. She is now faced with the task of nursing the dog back to health. But, most surprisingly, “It was a miraculous change in her behaviour towards the dog,” according to Pierre, “She loved him with all her heart and he became her dog and no more the kids’ dog.”
Owning a pet is clearly a great responsibility. Pets require love, care and attention. The responsibility cannot be taken lightly. However, referring to the stories of her three clients, Pierre noted that it is worth it to own a dog. “Nothing beats the excitement and joy that happens on your return, even if you just go down the road for five minutes, they put a smile on your face every time,” she said. Other pet owners can undoubtedly relate similar experiences with their own animals.