If you are like many seniors, you may be spending way too much time by yourself watching television, reading, knitting, or whatever. The thing is, television, reading, knitting, or whatever is much more enjoyable when you have another person or a pet to share the experience.
Now, I know what you are thinking. “How can a pet, like a dog or a cat, make knitting more enjoyable?” Well, of course, the pet doesn’t help you knit, but they do keep you company while you knit, and their presence alone helps your state of mind and body.
It is proven that having a dog or cat sitting by you will lower your blood pressure. If you pet the animal, your blood pressure will decrease even more. Many people talk to their pets because a pet is an excellent listener. They don’t argue; they don’t call you names or insult your intelligence with their own wild-eyed or political beliefs. The worse thing they might do is get up and leave or, in the case of a cat, go to the litter box as if to say, “that’s what I think about your opinion!”
Talking to your pet is more reasonable than talking to yourself, and if caught doing so, people don’t assume you are one apple shy of a bushel. They think it’s cute and even encourage a conversation with a canine or feline companion. People of all ages talk to their pets. Some people talk baby talk, or exaggerated cuteness speak like, “Who’s the baby? Who’s the good boy?” The pet doesn’t really care what you are saying as long as you are paying them some attention and your tone of voice is happy and calm.
Once in a while, I’ll be driving with my dog Bentley in the car, and someone will cut me off in traffic, so of course, I feel obligated to let loose with an array of superlatives that would make a truck driver blush, however, if I were to do this, I would then need to apologize to Bentley and assure him that Daddy is not yelling at him. He doesn’t understand why I am screaming, but he will react as if the verbal assault is intended for him, and he will feel scared and sad. Bentley makes me a better person, and I strive to live up to his opinion of me.
Bentley does not like to get out of the car. He will sit in the passenger seat, and no matter what I offer or the size of the treat I try to bribe him with, he refuses to get out. I try to reason with him, but he can be very stubborn. I once left him in my garage with the passenger side door wide open. I went into the house and left the doors open so he could enter. The garage was not hot, and he was fine. He sat there for over an hour before I came back out and physically picked him up and took him out of the car. Let me tell you; we had quite the conversation after that experience.
The moral of this story is to recommend getting a pet to keep you company so you are not alone so much. Wouldn’t you like to be happier? Wouldn’t it be nice to say more than just a few words a day? Get yourself a cat, a dog, a guinea pig, etc., and enjoy their companionship more than you do that of most people.
Remember, adopt, don’t shop.
Barry KuKes is the Community Out- reach Director for the Halifax Humane Society. You can reach Barry at 386. 274.4703, ext. 320, or BarryK@hali faxhumanesociety.org