February 20, 2015

Love Your Pets

My 1 yr old Husky mix - Juno
Do you have a pet? Perhaps a cat, dog, fish, hamster, rabbit, reptile or some other animal to call your own. At some point in your life did you ask your parents, "Please can I get a .....?" Just fill in the blank! All my life I have grown up with animals in my home, cats mostly, with a few dogs here and there and the occasional house sitting of classroom pets including rodents, reptiles and fish. I'm not alone, however, because the fact is that 68% of all U.S. households own approximately 396 million pets. The largest majority of those pets of course are dogs (56.7 million) and cats (45.3 million), but this also includes freshwater fish (14.3 million), birds and other small animals like rabbits, hamsters, etc (6.9 million each), reptiles (5.6 million), horses (2.8 million) and saltwater fish (1.8 million).

The U.S. Pet Industry has more than tripled its sales over the last twenty years, with Americans spending $58.51 billion dollars on our pets in 2014, compared to $17 billion in 1994. To put that into perspective, in 2013 every American in the United States spent $1,141 on clothing. In the same year American pet owners spent $1,271 and $1,649 in annual expenses for their cats and dogs.  These expenses included not only food, vet visits and boarding, but vitamins, grooming, toys, clothing and professional photos.

My daughter's 3-yr old black and tan
Coon Hound - Apollo waiting for a treat.
So, is it any wonder that there is an entire day dedicated to loving your pets?  Today, February 20th, is Love Your Pet Day. So if you have a pet, spend time with them, have fun, and enjoy the love and companionship they bring into your life. And if you are thinking about getting a pet, come down to the library and check out one of these great books on pets and how to care for them. Caring for Dogs & Puppies: A Guide to Taking Care of Your Most Loyal Friend, The Complete Idiot's Guide to a Healthy Cat by Wexler-Mitchell, or Healthy Homemade Pet Foods: 75 Whole-Food Recipes & Tasty Treats by Taylor-Laino. There is also Tropical Aquarium Fish by Dawes, Becoming Your Bird's Best Friend by Gutman, My Pet Hamster by Rockwell, Reptile Style by Gruber, Horse Sense: A Complete Guide to Horse Selection & Care by Mettler, Paws, Claws, Feathers & Fins (video), and A Pet or Not? by Silverstein.  At the end of the day, I look forward to going home and knowing that I will be greeted with excitement as soon as my car turns the corner. Juno comes to the fence with her tail wagging and a smile on her face, waiting for me to say hello. It makes you feel good to know that unconditional love is always there. So love your pet today!

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