Man’s Best Friend

Nicola D. (Year 8), Contributor

Today, it is estimated that 62% of households in the world own pets, which is approximately 17.4 million homes owning a pet of any kind. In Australia, two-thirds of the population have at least one pet. But why do people love pets so much? Why do so many Aussies have an animal in their home?  

 It is because of the bond we have with them! We choose our animals for a variety of reasons, one more commonly being for company. It can be lonely sometimes, being home alone and with no one there. Sometimes just having your dog at your feet or letting them sit next to you on the couch (I never do that…) can be a comfort. “I like to give them lots of cuddles when I am upset. Sometimes I even talk to them about all my feelings and everything that has been going on.” Says Eliza M. 

 It is not surprising that dogs are the most popular and common pet, followed not too far behind by our feline friends. The main reason dogs are so favourable is because they’re generally more friendly and love to play with you and spend time with you. “I would describe the connection with my dogs by saying it’s a great bond. They are like a whole other friend who you can do so much with. You can train them, play games with them, walk them, and more. They are so much fun to hang out with and will always return the love,” said Eliza.  

 On the other hand, cats can sometimes be playful and energetic, but for the most part, they are sleepy and more on the independent side. What people do love about cats though, is that they are calm and will just sit there next to you, and purr when you pat them. Eliza says “I would describe my bond with my cat by saying it is so loving. It is so great to have the feeling of your pet loving you. You get such nice moments with them when they sleep on your bed or when they are crying because they want attention. It is nice to feel needed by my cat like when he runs up to my room crying because he’s hungry.” 

 Sometimes, people are more interested in reptiles such as snakes or lizards. Just like any other pet, they offer company and stress relief to the carer. For those not willing, or who are too busy to go on daily walks, these pets do not need it. “The bond with my lizard is something unique. It’s so fun getting to see her personality each day and grow a connection with her. Most people don’t realise how connected you can become with them. It feels like you are looking after a little baby. It’s so fun seeing her trying new foods and then showing her love for them or her hate. It’s a great experience that you can’t get with a normal pet.” Eliza says about her bearded dragon. They are calm and quiet during both the day and night, so they do not require constant attention and cuddles, although you can if you want to.  

 “Some things I can do with my lizard are giving her baths, feeding her, letting her run around my room, training her, and more.  You can even play games with them, and you can take them for walks. I know some of the things I listed can take work (like feeding them) but it’s a fun thing to do with your bearded dragon as you watch them run to get the food and hear their beautiful ASMR munching.” Eliza explains about her lizard.  

 In addition to the common cat, dog, or lizard, people can own some strange pets. I had a friend in kindy who had a pet rock. Yep, that’s right, a rock. She was very attached to her pet rock, and never let it out of her sight. Some pet owners also have special birds, turtles, crabs, or even small wild animals.  

 Even those who don’t own a pet can have a bond with animals in general! Kids who don’t have pets will occasionally come up to me with my dogs and ask if they can pat them.  

 In my opinion, you don’t need to have your own pet to love animals! For a long time, I wanted dogs, and my family didn’t get them until I was 10. Whilst I didn’t have dogs, I was extremely excited to see other people’s pups, and you could imagine my shock and excitement when my dad said, “Do you want to pick up the puppy?” 

 “My dream pet would be a dog, as they are supportive and comforting pets, and fun to play with. I enjoy seeing other people’s pets and playing with them! If I had a pet of my own like a dog, I would bond with them by playing with them and taking care of them and going on lots of walks with them.” Says Tharika J. 

 On the whole, people and their pets have a bond that is unique to every individual. It doesn’t matter what type it is; the connection is there, and it is why we love animals so much.