November is typically the month of thankfulness, gratitude and Thanksgiving. It seems appropriate, given that we are preparing to head into a season of gift giving, social get togethers (well, maybe not so many social gatherings this year) and the start of the new year. It always made sense to me that we begin the holiday season focused on what we are thankful for. In the spirit of this, Milwaukee Paws Pet Care is writing a series of gratitude blogs. This is the first in that series, with more to follow in the next few weeks. Our first blog post is about why we are grateful for pets- not just our pets, but all pets! Pets bring so much to our lives and give us so much to be thankful for- we had a hard time limiting it to only 5 reasons, but here are our top 5 reasons we are grateful for pets.
We are thankful that pets teach us how to love:
My personal experience with pets involves dogs. I have owned dogs since I was 2 years old, and to be honest, I cannot imagine my life without dogs around. One thing I have learned from the dogs I raised was how to love others. It seems funny to say that, but think about it. Dogs love you for who you are, in that moment. Dogs do not love you for who you were or who they believe you could be- they love you for you, in that moment.
Since opening Milwaukee Paws Pet Care, I have taken care of many cats, birds and even a few bunnies. All the pets we care for show the same ability to love us and their owners for who they are, in the moment. Wouldn’t life be great if we could all learn to love others as they are, flaws and all, in the moment we are with them?
We are thankful that pets show us emotions are ok:
Far too many people hide their emotions- I know I do! We are so worried that others will see our weakness, or judge us for feeling an emotion, that we hide them. We
“put on a brave face”. Pets don’t do that. Pets, whether cat or dog, show the emotion they are feeling as they are feeling them. Dogs who are sad, don’t pretend to be happy, they don’t “put on a happy face”. If they are sad, they look sad!
We now know, through scientific research, that animals feel emotions the same as humans. They experience love, happiness, joy, contentment, anger, frustration, sadness, loneliness, confusion, and so many more! Animals differ from us in that they express those emotions. They don’t apologize for them.
We are thankful that pets teach us that it is ok to experience emotions. Emotions are experienced for a reason- and we need to be able to embrace what we are feeling, and not be ashamed of them. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed, sad, frustrated, angry, or happy, joyful, content. No emotion is wrong, it is usually our expression of the emotion that gets us into trouble- not the actual emotion.
Another thing that pets teach us about emotions- and this is important-is that just because we are feeling something now, that doesn’t mean that we have to stay in that emotional state! Look at dogs again; when my dog, Murphy, is feeling bored, he has a look that is unmistakeable. He sighs loudly, and he tosses his head down (similar to a toddler who is bored- it’s really cute). However, if I bring out his leash, he goes from cranky and bored to excited and happy in 1 second. He doesn’t stay in the emotion of being frustrated or bored, he allows himself to experience the joy and happiness of going for a walk.
We can all learn from this. Did you have a disagreement with a friend and you’re angry with that person? Guess what, you can be angry with that person, but still feel happiness and joy when you step out into the sunlight or get a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop. It’s ok to let go of an emotion and move on.
We are thankful that pets teach us how to live:
Pets (whether cat, dog, bird or bunny) are genuine in who they are. Pets don’t pretend to be something they a
re not- they love who they are as individuals. The reality is, if you have a grumpy cat, you have a grumpy cat. The cat doesn’t apologize to you, or anyone else for being grumpy. I love this about pets.
Every dog I have ever owned has been very different from each other- none have tried to pretend to be something they weren’t. We, as people, can learn from this. We were all created differently, but together those differences bring together a very interesting and colorful life. We should be proud of who we are and
who we were created to be.
Pets also embrace the moment. Our pets live in the moment, and while I am all for planning (believe me, I am a planner myself), there is something to be said for just enjoying the moment and embracing the life we have now. I have a few friends and family members who can do this, and I am always in awe of them. No matter what is going on, they see that the current moment is worth embracing, experiencing and growing from. I love this, and I love how happy it makes them! Have you ever seen a dog playing with their favorite toy, or a cat chasing a flirt stick? They are over the top happy with the toy, and not at all focused on the past or tomorrow- it’s a great lesson for us all!
Pets trust us, they trust each other and they forgive. Anyone who has ever rescued a pet knows this. They don’t forget the past hardships, but they learn to love again, they learn to trust again. Isn’t that beautiful? We should all have the heart of our pets!
We are thankful that pets teach us how to rest:
I admit it, I have a terrible time with resting. I have a tendency to work, work, work and forget to rest and play. My dogs have shown me the power of rest. Pets rest when they need it- without apology. Cats love to sleep in warm, sunny places. Dogs curl up on a sofa and chair and snuggle in for a nap. Rest is essential for our pets.
Pets know that rest is important for the body to heal, to recover and to rejuvenate. They sleep when their bodies tell them too. We need rest too. We need to allow our bodies and our minds time to unwind, to heal, recover and rejuvenate. We need time to relax and recenter and that doesn’t have to always be sleeping. Cats and dogs are great at resting- just sitting or lying around and watching the world go by. My dogs favorite place in our house is on top of his crate, looking out the window.
Rest is so important for our bodies, it helps regulate our hormones and keeps us healthy. Without enough rest, we see cortisol levels (the stress hormone) rise and our bodies react to the chronic stress by developing chronic diseases. We don’t rest enough, but we can all take a lesson from our pets on this one.
Finally, we are thankful for all that pets bring to our lives:
Whether we are feeling sad or happy, our pets are there for us. Pets love us, unconditionally. Pets have been shown to experience empathy, the ability to recognize an emotion in another being and share in that feeling. Think about the last time you were really heartbroken. For me, that was when my heart dog, Jesse, passed away. I was heartbroken and not sure how I would recover. Murphy, spent days just sitting next to me letting me pet him. This may not sound like much, but at the time, Murphy was a young dog with a lot of energy! He would run laps around our house and the yard, just to burn off energy several times a day- but not once while I was at the height of my grief.
I hear stories from our clients of things like this all the time. It warms my heart to know that our pets bring us so much love, understanding and compassion! Pets also make us laugh with their goofy antics and cute faces! Pets bring so much to our lives it’s hard to imagine life without pets!
We are also so grateful that we have the trust of our clients to care for their beloved pets when they cannot be there. From dog training and dog walks, to pet sitting, everyone of our staff are so thankful and grateful for the pets we care for. If you need help caring for your pets, especially during the holidays, give us a call. Milwaukee Paws Pet Care offers a wide variety of visits to meet the needs of all of our clients and their pets. We are the premier pet care company in the Milwaukee area and are happy to help you too!