Older woman sitting on couch reading with dog by her side

Pets Can Improve The Quality Of Life — But Is Pet Ownership Right For You?

As you skip along life’s path, the journey is much more enjoyable with a loving companion.
Have you thought about including a pet in your family of supporters? Perhaps you’ve already been blessed by the love of a pet. Has your bond strengthened over the years? Or, like me, maybe you cherish the memories of a dependable, four-legged companion that has passed on. Whatever your situation, I invite you to give thanks for the sacred connection to all animals you have welcomed in your life.

Got the canine blues...
Growing up in California, my family enjoyed the company of dogs: Chihuahuas, Doberman pinchers, German shepherds, mutts and runts. However, since moving to Illinois years ago, I have not kept a pet. Two of the main reasons: Weather and space. How do you keep a pet active in snow and ice and freezing temperatures? And because I don’t have the luxury of a large yard, there’s little room to romp. I realize pet lovers manage to engage their furry friends by devising seasonal plans, but I still wonder how that will work for me. Honestly, I miss my beloved pets and periodically get the canine blues. Every time I see someone with a cute, cuddly bundle, I lean a little closer to pet ownership.

Do you recall an earlier post where I shared my relationship with Jon Jon, the Dobie we rescued from an abusive farm environment at the age of seven? I still cherish the special memories of my favorite poochie pal. For ten years, I pampered my loving and loyal friend until he passed on to another realm.  

Greta Bria's role as caregiver
Today, I’d like to share a story about another sweet doggy dear I bonded with over the years — Greta Bria, our beloved Chihuahua. This precious delight was originally owned by an elderly gentleman in our neighborhood and was gifted to my aunt after his passing. My aunt suffered from a debilitating disease all of her life, and at that particular time, she needed an angel to watch over her night and day. Greta performed her duties in an exemplary manner. She was quiet and compassionate when she needed to be and energetic and playful when that energy was required.

She was especially sensitive and intuitive. I recall how sad Greta would become each time the ambulance came to take my aunt to the emergency room. She would let out a piercing whimper when my aunt experienced a crisis and wouldn’t budge from her spot under the bed until my aunt returned home. One of Greta’s God-given roles was serving as a viable member of her adopted family’s caregiving team. I witnessed her unconditional love and support with the elderly gentleman and with my aunt. I believe we come into this world with special gifts and a specific purpose. And I know in my heart this is true for our canine friends as well.  

Pets teach us so much about compassion, patience, understanding and responsibility.
And they captivate our hearts as they entertain us with their unique personalities. Pets can be good for the soul — for many people, they bring joy and comfort. Research shows that pets can also be great for our health. For example, they can lower stress, decrease blood pressure, boost moods, help us move more, stimulate social interaction with other pet owners, and more. Pets definitely have admirable attributes. And not only can they be a wonderful addition to families, they can also offer great companionship for older adults.

However, is pet ownership right for you and your lifestyle? Will a pet support this stage of your life’s journey? What type of pet fits comfortably into your budget? Do you have room in your residence for a cat or a bird? Do you have time to train, feed, and walk your dog? Weigh the advantages and determine if you are ready to welcome a new pet into your home.

Consider This
Tabby and Fido are not the only potential pets. Some may enjoy rabbits, hamsters and turtles. And just because you may not have space in your home, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits that spending time with animals offers. Consider volunteering at an animal shelter or zoo. Or look for a job in a pet-related field — a veterinarian business, a dog grooming salon, pet store or kennel. Also, you may choose to act as a dog-walker or pet-sitter. There are so many businesses that cater to pets today!

Four Steps to Nourish, Transform and Flourish
• Set a loving intention to explore pet ownership this week.
• Begin by weighing the pros and cons, especially how a furry companion will make you feel.
• Consider how a dog, cat or another pet may improve the quality of your life.
• Close your eyes and visualize how this lifestyle change can prepare you for your amazing second half.  

Need help deciding if this is the right time for a pet?

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In love, peace and health--
Your feminine glow guide,

T. Kari Mitchell, M.Ed.
Motivational Speaker
Certified Holistic Health Coach

When your spirit is nourished, your inner light produces an outer glow reflecting your beauty and truth.