Are Your Pets Part of Your Family?

For people that have grown up with pets in their homes, you know how truly special our companions can be for us. The bond between us is something unique, and while some people may poke fun at our “obsession” with our pets, for many of us it enriches our lives beyond compare. Pets are cherished members of our families! They provide us with so many great benefits, both within the family and beyond. 

I recently got into a discussion with an acquaintance who couldn’t understand why I was spending so much money on my pet. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t do the same. Ellie’s Rainy Day Fund was started from a deep desire to keep families together by saving their pets’ lives. We believed that pet lovers would gladly pay it forward to help other families in their community to save their beloved animal companions.

That recent conversation got me thinking about what it is about my furry family that makes them so important to me. Really, it’s the same qualities that make my human family members so important. Please take a moment to click back to some of the stories referenced below of families you have helped.

Here are a few of the qualities they bring into focus:

1. Pets are protective

Many people believe that dogs are the most protective creatures, but this is far from the truth. While domesticated animals maintain some wild instincts, protection of their human families is one of the most important instincts for dogs, and cats are no different. Think about how often you’ve heard stories of dogs or cats protecting children, warning the parents when a child stopped breathing, or running back into a fire to find a missing family member… pets can be our greatest protectors! You can read Rowdy’s love story to see how he does just that—warns his Dad when dad’s about to fall.

2. Pets show emotion

While animals can’t show emotion using words like we do, we can usually get a good idea of what they’re feeling just by looking at them. Dogs show happiness by wagging their tails and cats show contentment by purring. When’s the last time you got home from a long day away and your dog couldn’t sit still long enough for you to pet him, or your cat started rubbing your legs and purring so loudly a person in the other room could hear!? Research shows that dogs even have facial expressions similar to ours, reacting differently to loved ones, strangers, and pleasant or unpleasant objects. It’s also been proven that, just like us, our fur-members can grieve over the loss of loved ones. Watching Kahlua's expressions when with her Dad left no doubt of her love for him, or her opinions about the various tasks in their day.

4. Pets are loyal

Have you ever met a human being more loyal than your faithful pet? Dogs and cats know who their humans are and always show loyalty to their families. Dogs in particular instinctually want to bond with a group, so when they are brought into a family they immediately try to bond with their “pack.” This month’s featured love story, Sabastian, stayed with his sick Mom every day. He had to be removed from his Mom’s side after she passed away.

5. Pets cherish their owners

Pets have many ways of showing love for their owners like dogs following you around the house, licking you, jumping to hug you, leaning on you, sleeping near you, and sometimes actually even smiling at you, while cats purr, roll around, knead, bring you gifts, and even sometimes groom you. Mosha’s love story recounts how she tries to never leave her Mom’s side.

6. Pets provide comfort

It is scientifically proven that pets can decrease levels of anxiety in their owners and provide comfort. Pets not only relieve anxiety, they can also improve your quality of life. This is why we see so many emotional support animals, therapy pets, and service pets these days. They are also used often in hospice care to help calm agitated patients! For hospice patients who have lived with pets for most of their lives, animal therapy can provide a more home-like atmosphere for them. The love story of Binx includes an account of how he got his Mom through the extreme stress of recovery from brain surgery!