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If you’ve ever loved a pet, you know the kind of joy animals can bring. Why is it that we love our pets so much? Why are these relationships so important? To put it simply: because they make us happy. Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to make a pet happy than a human? When we give our pets their favorite food, or a scratch behind the ears, they are radiantly happy. They love to see us when we come home at night. Their love for us is a less complicated, pure joy than what we encounter with humans. There is something deeply fulfilling about this, especially in the complicated world we live in. Our bond with pets stems from three components of human nature: instincts, culture and empathy. The human brain is hard-wired to generate warm and fuzzy feelings when we see chubby cheeks, or big eyes and a cute face. These so-called “baby releasers” evolved to hook us into taking care of our own infants. “As an evolutionary side effect, our attraction to all things infantile also makes kittens and puppies irresistible. This also explains why we get so riled up about the plight of baby harp seals and yet care so little about the much rarer giant Chinese salamander, a six-foot mass of beady-eyed brown slime!” ~ Hal Herzog Did you know that there are health benefits of having a pet in our home?

  • It is good for our hearts.
  • It lowers our blood pressure.
  • Improves fitness, dog owners are more apt to take their dogs for walks.
  • Pets provide support and companionship for those with special needs.

“In all of our relationships, we need not only to give affection but to see that affection reflected back to us—we want to know that the other being enjoys it. So a dog wagging his tail or a purring cat closes the relationship loop for us in a very profound, nurturing way.” ~ O Magazine

Photos provided by Tanya Sharkey Photography

We can’t stress enough how important it is to adopt a rescue dog from a shelter. Or an older dog before looking for a puppy, or a puppy from a pet store. Why is this? Because puppies are always adopted, where older dogs and rescue dogs are in more need of finding love and a happily-ever-after home. Sadly, around 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States simply because too many people give up their pets, don’t get them spade or neutered and too few people adopt from shelters. Because there is limited space at shelters, staff members sometimes need to make very hard decisions to euthanize animals who haven’t been adopted, according to the Humane Society. So please adopt first if you can. Do you know there are many famous people who adopt pets? George Clooney, Fran Drescher, Ellen Degeneres, Sharon Osbourne, Edie Falco, Charlize Theron and more.

For more information on the benefits of adoption, and common myths, go to: Humane Society, the Tampa Humane Society or your local ASPCA

By Kim Cass Founder of The Socialites Network