Popovich’s Cat Circus

There are some who may say this is cruel, but I don’t see why rescuing cats from the shelter and training them is a bad thing. Plus, this guy lets his cat eat from the dinner table, his pets are definitely part of his family, so I don’t think there’s any cruelty to animals going on here. Anyway, enjoy!

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Why Pets Are Important

As I sit on my couch with my incredibly loyal friend Bean beside me on his favorite furry purple pillow, I can’t help but think about what an important part of my life he is. Although he only weighs 6 pounds on a “fat” day, his presence is weighty. To be completely candid, he tends to pee when he gets too excited and he barks at the most inopportune times, yet I would rather spend time with him than many of the people I know, despite their ability to use the bathroom in a toilet.

Why are he and my handsome cat Milo so important? I could start answering that question by listing all the reasons I love them, but that doesn’t get to the root of the question. Those answers would merely be explaining their importance to me personally, but not really their importance as members of our society. Now before anyone gets too indignant at the thought of including pets as members of our society, lets look at the facts that support that statement.

Firstly, there are veterinarians’ offices in every neighborhood of our city. Obviously pets are an important part of our society if one is as likely to see an urgent care clinic as one is to see a veterinarian’s office in the same area. Our pets’ health and well-being are ever-present on our minds as we make note of that emergency vet clinic that advertises after-hours care. And to delve deeper into the topic of veterinary medicine, did you know that vet school is as competitive to get into as medical school? Vet school is no 2 year associates degree; vet students study for a full five years, and it is next to impossible to even be admitted in the first place without years of on-the-job experience as a vet tech. Knowing all this about veterinarians, it begins to get harder to argue that pets aren’t a part of our society, and an important part too.

Another valid argument in support of pets’ importance is the prevalence of pet specialty stores. Everyone knows about PetSmart and Pet Co., supermarkets of pet supplies where you can even bring your beloved animal shopping with you. One can find a pet superstore where ever there is a shopping center or mall. But that’s not all! Did you know that billions of dollars were spent in 2009 on pet food, pet care, and pet accessories? New Orleans has at least half a dozen pet boutiques and another half dozen pet “spas”, where you can send your furry baby to be groomed and perfumed, complete with a “paw”dicure. Stop in one of the chic pet boutiques, and you can pick up an outfit for your pet, maybe even one for every day of the week. Now I’ll admit that some of these venues may encourage people to go a little overboard in their adoration of their animals, but the fact remains that these stores have enough business to be profitable and they stand out as the most compelling evidence in the case for the importance of pets.

If you still aren’t convinced, let’s look at a particularly popular tradition in New Orleans, the Mardis Gras parade. Well, to be specific, the Barkus parade, which occurs every year in the French Quarter, and features dogs both costumed and in the buff parading the streets with their proud owners in tow. People are not only excited to be a part of the parade with their pet, the tourists and pet-less locals alike enjoy watching the furry spectacle as they pass by. My personal and somewhat philosophical opinion on the popularity of this parade is this: dogs radiate such unbridled happiness, especially in the presence of other dogs and people, that it is contagious. You just can’t watch two dogs meet each other for the first time, sniffing butts and then running in circles of excitement, without feeling the joy, especially if those two dogs are also wearing silly costumes.

My last argument for the importance of pets is their effect on our overall health. Allergies aside, pets have been found to have a positive impact on their owners’ health. Some studies have shown that the presence of a pet during stressful situations can be more soothing than the presence of close friends or family. Senior citizens have reported that in many cases spending time with a pet staves off loneliness better than spending time with peers. Hypertensive patients have been found to have lower blood pressure and heart rates when they owned pets. And finally, in perhaps the most concrete example of the health benefits of pets, dog ownership particularly can encourage exercise and social activities, which both contribute to a healthier lifestyle.

I could certainly go on and on about the integral role pets play in the lives on their owners, but I should probably try to cut it short. Besides, anyone who has ever loved a pet of their own has his or her own reasons for the importance of having furry friends. For those of you without pets, what are you waiting for? This is for your health!

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