Pet Corner: You can learn from your pets

Published 9:24 am Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Most of the time when someone is considering getting a new pet, they automatically begin to think of how much they plan to teach their new pet.

No doubt, pet owners teach their pets countless behavioral attributes and basic obedience.

Pets also teach their owners, primarily subconsciously, about everyday life. Pets teach us about loving, loyalty, joy and friendship. Additionally, they teach us about death.

Email newsletter signup

What would we do without the wonderful and special opportunity to have loving, devoted and dedicated pets to keep us company? I know our family would not be complete without our pets. Their unconditional love and laughable personalities would leave a huge void in our house if they were not there.

As I have said many times, they are a part of the family. They just don’t have the ability to fully show their appreciation of their family. Sure, a tail wag or lick on the cheek is a decent gesture, but if only they could talk.

The problem is pets have too short of a lifespan. If we are fortunate enough to live a normal life expectancy, we will see several furry family members pass on. We can be thankful for all the wonderful years and good times a deceased pet has allowed us to experience.

If only they could talk, I think most pets would tell us to keep their fond memories close to our hearts and let go of any negative thoughts of disease or accidents.

Initially, our new pets teach us about responsibility of caring for an otherwise helpless animal.

Pets can be wonderful for teaching children the responsibility of feeding, watering, bathing, brushing and walking them. Pets can also help prepare children, teenagers and even young adults for many of life’s lessons.

People often learn how to handle certain situations by having gone through similar events with their pets. For example, having a pet become sick or injured usually causes a multitude of emotions from their loving caregivers. Whenever the pet owner experiences a similar situation with a human family member or close friend, they may be better prepared to deal with their emotions.

Pets can be instrumental with regards to helping people deal with the loss of a human loved one. Again, if we are fortunate enough to live a normal life expectancy, we will experience the loss of one or more pets. Having already gone through this terribly emotional yet inevitable and natural event, can certainly help facilitate one’s mental well-being.

I have always thought having lost many pets from childhood to young adulthood helped prepare me for the loss of human loved ones such as a close friend and both of my parents.

Obviously, I am not suggesting there is anything that makes it easy to experience this kind of loss, but I believe losing a pet eases the burden of losing a human loved one.

Pets can even help prepare us for certain types of emergency situations. If you have ever experienced a medical emergency with a pet, you may be better prepared for a human emergency.

If you experience several medical emergencies with pets, you would probably be more calm and rational instead of becoming irrational and begin to panic.

I am truly amazed our 16-year-old son is able to perform so well under unbelievable stress. He has no idea what gave him the ability to stay calm during a medical emergency. I believe it has everything to do with spending an extraordinary amount of time in my veterinary clinic.

He has been present during countless pet emergencies. He has watched as animal medical personnel tend to injured or ill patients with uncanny calmness and strategic efficiency.

It just goes to show you pets teach us more than we even realize.

If your pet experiences any health issues, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to ensure your pet lives a long, healthy and happy life.

Dr. Jeff Castle is a veterinarian at Clark County Veterinary Clinic.