The Benefits Of Owning A Pet…My Life As A Pet Parent

Shortly after I was born my parents purchased a Golden Retriever puppy and in an instant the course of my life was altered forever.  I was now a pet person for life.  However, it took over thirty years before I became a single pet parent (taking care of a pet without the help of other family members) and it was at that time that I first realized the true benefits of owning a pet.

By the way, I do say “Pet Parent” and not “Dog Parent” because I’m not strictly a dog person.  In fact, as a kid I was a cat person (shhh…please don’t tell my boys) and throughout my life I’ve had the benefit of owning dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, turtles, fish, lizards, and birds.

Benefits Of Owning A Pet - My 3 Dogs: Linus, Stetson, Apache

Love my 3 doggies: Linus, Stetson, and Apache

5 Benefits Of Owning A Pet

I first brought home my very own rescue puppy, Linus nearly 8 years ago and since then I’ve enjoyed the many benefits of owning a pet.  If you visit the PAL (Pets Add Life) website you’ll find a list telling why your days are brighter and life is just plain better with pets in it.  Here’s the abbreviated version of their list:

  1. Pets Help To Reduce Stress
  2. Pets Help To Lower Heart Disease and Reduce Blood Pressure
  3. Pets Help To Fight Depression
  4. Add Joy
  5. Add Health

Check out the entire list with explanations at PAL (Pets Add Life) website.

My favorite benefit occurs nearly every day when I’m walking to the front door of my house after a hard days work I often ask myself (or whoever is with me at the time): “I wonder if the boys will be happy to see me?”  Of course Linus always charges to greet me, grabs a plush doggy toy (if he can’t find a toy he grabs one of my shoes), and tries to get me to play with him.  Now if that doesn’t bring a smile to your face then I don’t know what will.

How Pets Add To My Life

I tell this to almost everyone who asks me a question on this site: “Every puppy is different, every puppy will have a different personality.  Don’t expect this puppy to be the exact same as your last puppy even if it’s the same breed or even from the same litter.”  That brings me to my 3 dogs.  They are each different and have their own personality.  I love them all to death, but they each bring a little bit something special to the table.

Linus – The Australian Shepherd Mix

Baby Linus - Australian Shepherd Mix

Little Linus The Aussie Mix

Linus was my first puppy.  We rescued Linus from the Carson Animal Shelter and you can actually read the entire story of how I adopted Linus…my very first blog post.  Linus has changed my life in many ways.  He was the reason I got involved in fostering and puppy raising.  He’s always excited to see me.  His enthusiasm and playfulness is infectious.  I just love his daily greetings when I return home from a hard days work.  Linus is also the one in tune with my emotions.  He know when I’m happy and gives me plenty of wags and kisses and he know when I’m sad and gives me much needed affection and a body to hug.

 

Stetson – The Black Labrador Retriever

Stetson Black Lab Puppy

Stetson The Black Lab

Stetson was my first guide dog puppy in training.  Stetson is a career changed guide dog and now lives permanently at home with me.  Stetson has an enthusiasm for 2 things: food and sleep.  He does love his sniffer training, but that’s all related to his love for food.  Stetson teaches me every day to slow down and enjoy life.  Do the things that make me happy!  He doesn’t have the same energetic greetings as Linus, but he’s a great companion when you need a pup to snuggle up to on the couch while watching a movie.

 

Apache – The Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever Puppy Playing With Dog Toy

Golden Retriever Puppy – Apache First Dog Toy

Apache is my current guide dog puppy in training.  It’s great always having a young puppy in your life as we puppy raisers always do.  Apache definitely has a youthful outlook on life.  He prances on walks, he sometimes gets overly excited, and he loves to play.  He’s still a puppy and is constantly learning when he can be excited and playful versus when he needs to concentrate on work.  Apache really brings out the kid in me and reminds me that we should always be learning and that it’s okay to act like a kid once in while.  Of course he also has that endearing affectionate side found in most Goldens.

 

I’d be remiss to not mention my other 2 dogs.  Derby was my second guide dog puppy in training and ended up as a career changed too.  He went into the guide dog adoption program and went to live with a loving family.  He taught me that we’re not all made to do certain jobs.  If you don’t like what you do then try doing something else.

Finally there’s Dublin who has an entire series of videos right here on the blog.  Check out Puppy In Training TV.  Dublin graduated and is a working guide dog.  He taught me that if you work hard then you can reach your goals.

Pets add to all aspects of your life.  If you have not already experienced the joys and benefits of owning a pet it is something I definitely think you should consider.  If you have a moment I highly recommend you check out the PAL – Pets Add Life website or take a look at their Facebook Page.  The PAL – Pets Add Life campaign is designed to demonstrate the joys and benefits of pet ownership, thus driving increased adoption of pets and responsible ownership of pets. Produced by the American Pet Products Association (APPA).

We’ve always been a fan of pet adoption and responsible ownership and plan on continuing to work with our local animal shelters and rescues as volunteers and fosters.

So how about you guys?  How have pets added to your life?  What benefits have you experienced while owning a pet?  Tell us your story in the comment section below.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Pets Add Life campaign and the American Pet Products Association. We are being compensated for helping spread the word about the benefits and joys of pet ownership.

Comments

    • says

      Hi Urban Hounds,

      I’m definitely with you. I can’t believe how my life has changed since the day I picked up Linus from the animal shelter. Almost all of my free time now revolves around dogs.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Colby

  1. says

    I couldn’t agree more – it’s tough taking the leap from being part of a family with a pet, to owning one yourself (or becoming a single parent, as you put it) but it is tremendously rewarding – nothing makes me feel better than my menagerie greeting me when I walk through the front door!

    • says

      Hi John,

      It was a big step and that’s why it took me over 30 years to finally owning a pet by myself. Waiting was a good thing because until that time I was wrapped up in many other commitments that would not have allowed me to spend the proper amount of quality time with a new puppy/dog.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Colby

    • says

      I like the (mostly) part…especially during puppyhood which is most likely coming for me again considering Apache starts Guide Dog College this weekend and the puppy department has already contacted me asking when I’d like to bring home another puppy. I’ve heard they have Lab pups, Shepherd pups, and Golden/Lab cross pups in the nursery…so tempting, but I think it’s time for a little break.

    • says

      Hi Jessica,

      Yes! We always had dogs and cats when I was growing up and as I mentioned earlier I was always on the cat side. During college is when I started transitioning to the dog side. Towards the end of college one of my friends adopted 2 puppies and for some reason I ended up being the caretaker.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Colby

  2. says

    Hey Colby and the Gang :)

    I make my family smile every day – it’s my job :) And they make me wag, especially when we go for a run in the morning :)

    I’m now also helping Mum to meet lots of people in retirement homes who’ve got awesome stories to share as I work as a Therapy Dog :)

    Mum says life is wonderful with Pets around :)

    Wags to all

    Your pal Snoopy :)

    • says

      Hi Snoopy!

      I’m sure you make everyone smile. You sure made me smile when I met you at BlogPaws. I’m so happy that you enjoy therapy dog work. Hopefully some day I’ll get Stetson involved doing Therapy work.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Colby

  3. says

    What a perfect post!
    The Pets Add Life campaign is so important because these pets we have make our lives complete!

    • says

      Hi Jen,

      Yes, I really believe in the Pets Add Life campaign and I hope our blogs can help spread the word. As you said “pets make our lives complete”. I couldn’t agree more.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Colby

  4. says

    We’re like you, we’ve had many different types of pets in our home, from guinea pigs to turtles to dogs. Each pet has opened a new facet of pet ownership and brought joy to our lives in different ways. Daisy is our first *small* dog, and we’ve learned that small dogs are totally different from the large ones we’ve had in the past. I’ve loved all of our pets, but Daisy has totally captivated my heart. :)

    • says

      Hi Daisy,

      My parents own a small dog for the first time in my life and my Dad loves that crazy little guy to death. So far I’ve been mostly a large dog person, but I’m sure in the future I will have a small dog as well.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Colby

  5. says

    PS~ I think it’s wonderful that you train Guide Dogs. We wanted to do that too, but we’d have too hard a time giving the pup back!

  6. says

    I agree with you 100% and I couldn’t imagine life without pets. I’d love to have more than one but Bella and my husband over-rule me. ;)

    • says

      Hi Leslie,

      I have 3 dogs at home right now soon to be 2 after Apache goes to guide dog college. I’m almost positive the puppy department will ask me if I want another puppy immediately after I drop off Apache. It’s so tempting and I don’t have anyone to overrule me :) We’ll see…

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Colby

  7. says

    Thank you so much for visiting my bloggie and leaving a comment! I have the best parents, and we love each other sooooo much!
    Lovies, Miss Mindy

    • says

      No problem! We love stopping by to see other pet blogs. I’m so glad that your parents have you and love you so much.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Colby

  8. Kyley says

    Our dog Maffy was such a joy for our family. I took hiim on runs/walks almost everyday and it was always a stress reliever as well as great exercise. We had him about 17 years and he loved going on walks until the very end, he was amazing. Now we have George and he needs a walk everyday as well and it helps the whole family get out into the environment for fresh air and exercise. We’ll be pet owners for life.
    Kyley

    • says

      Hi Kyley,

      We loved Maffy! and don’t forget Kiko! That’s a benefit I forgot to mention. Dogs get you out of the house for fresh air and exercise. I take all 3 of my dogs out on walks probably 2-3 times a day each. Without them I’d probably be stuck to my desk 12 hours a day.

      Thanks,
      Colby

  9. Irene says

    As soon as we bought our house, we got our first puppy, Miki. He was so much fun, we soon brought home our second puppy. They were our “children” for eighteen years. Soon after they passed on, we got Chibi. He was such a joy and when we had to put him down, we were all so heartbroken we didn’t want to get another puppy. After a few years we felt like our home was missing something, so decided to get another puppy. Now we don’t know what we would do without Yuki. She is a spoiled brat and is a very needy puppy but is so much fun to have around. I guess we will always be pet parents.

    • says

      Hi Irene,

      Thanks for sharing! It’s great to hear the stories about other peoples experiences with their pets. It does sound like you’ll always be pet parents. By the way, I will have some pictures of Yuki wearing her Bret Michaels Pet Hoodie soon.

      Take care,
      Colby

    • says

      I couldn’t agree more. As soon as Linus, Stetson, and Apache greet me my day is instantly better.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Colby

  10. Allison says

    As an only child, the dogs were the closest things I had to brothers and sisters. They were great! We would play, get mad at each other, watch tv, sleep, etc…they would even walk me to elementary school (with my dad in tow). Now that I’m out of my parents’ house, they have Yuki (their little yorkie) to spoil. It’s fun to go to my parents’ house and see this little thing bolt around the corner sprinting to say hi and lick your face!

    I currently live with three dogs and they are amazing. They are super lovable, caring, and entertaining! I love coming home to them everyday and they have a way of making me feel at ease after a rough day at work…just by laying next to me on the couch. :)

    I’m a dog person…and will always be one!

    • says

      Hi Allison,

      I think my sister thought our dog was a better sibling then her 2 brothers. I remember she used to dress up Maffy when he was a younger pup. Did you do the same with your dogs when you were a kid? By the way, those 3 dogs you live with sure are cool!

      Take care,
      Colby

  11. Sha Sha says

    Our pooch Luke is the life of the party…a 5 year old male beagle who is everyone’s friend. With his laid back temperment, he can handle puppie dogs to little kids with his mild manners, yet command being the leader of the pack. He waits patiently for his masters to come home from work and is always happy to greet them at the door…with a toy in tow. Besides being a happy camper, he never complains, listens to our everyday comments, eats whatever he is fed and truly has that unconditional love for his family and friends. Luke Skywalker is definitely a keeper!

    WE LOVE OUR DOG!!!!!!!!

    • says

      Hi Sha Sha!

      I think everyone loves Luke. He’s such a good boy. Just like Luke, Linus likes to run around with a toy in his mouth when he greets people.

      Take care,
      Colby

  12. says

    What a lovely, heartfelt post.

    But I had to giggle when I read your disclaimer. It’s like “you want to pay me for sharing how great pets are? Well, gee. That’s a no-brainer.” :)

    Hopefully this campaign will convince many families without pets to open their homes and their hearts.

    • says

      Thank Pamela! Yeah, it’s pretty easy to share how much I love my pets, how great they are, and how much they benefit and improve my life. It really is a no-brainer.

      Thanks,
      Colby

  13. says

    One thing I can certainly tell you, my dogs keep the peace in our home. Without them, I wouldn’t have experienced an entire month’s peace because my mom and I used to fight… MONTHLY. When I introduced Peanuts as an indoor dog, those fights went out of the door.

    They make my mom laugh in the most absurd ways and for the most absurd reasons. This is good news for me because it certainly lessens the tension at home.

    Adoption is awesome. Little Linus looks like a black Lab. LOL.

    Huggies and Cheese,

    Haopee

    • says

      That’s awesome that your dogs keep the peace at home! Yes, Linus did and still does look a lot like a Lab. Although if you met him in person you’d notice that his coat is totally different and his tail curls and feathers kind of like a husky.

      Take care!
      Colby

  14. Miko says

    This article holds very true to my heart Colby. We have always grown up with lots of animals as you know and I think as a child I always had a very deep connections with our “animal companions.” I remember the first magazines I subscribed to were Cat Fancy and Dog Fancy magazine. From there, I started receiving information on the Humane Society, PETA and other similar animal groups as a very little girl. I had Mom send $5 of my allowance to one of the groups to help save the homeless animals. From this, my love and bond with our pets has only grown for me. The relationships and joy they have brought me is invaluable. I now only have 1 cat, Lulu, but my dedication to helping animals continues, including being a vegetarian. I will always have pets and am so glad that our family lots of animals friends for me to enjoy!

    • says

      Very well said! Thanks for sharing your story and your love for animals. Maybe it’s time for you to get a friend for Lulu :)

  15. emi says

    This is very true. Once your children leave, your pet companions become your best friend and are always there for you. I remember when I would come home from 8 hour days at the nursing home my Mom was in, feeling so sad and tired, my cats would cuddle up to me just knowing that I needed some extra attention. It was also during those sad days that 2 of my 3 cats actually became “lap cats”….it’s a wonderful feeling having the cats sit in your lap just purring away…..

  16. says

    I love being a pet parent too! They give you so much. I know non-pet owners just dont get it which is one reason I LOVE blogville. Great post

    urban hounds

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