You’ve seen the articles, you’ve read and heard about all the studies done. And you smile to yourself and agree with their findings. They’re known facts. You have seen it with your own eyes.
Pets help us lower our blood pressure and help us live longer lives. I know it. You know it. But…do they?
I have currently four cats, three dogs and two turtles.
I have been blessed enough with cats who do not feel the need to carelessly knock things off onto the floor and thereby breaking things. They in fact try their hardest NOT to knock things off to the floor. Unless said things are table cloths, all bets are off when it comes to those devils. Of course every once in a while a careless tail flip or trying to get to another place quickly causes something to go tumbling to the floor.
The animals get along with each other more often than not and the dogs have learned that only one of our cats isn’t fully loaded — meaning we adopted our Bombay after some heartless person had his front claws removed. Not that you’d know it by watching him. And he is the only one who is the sweetest to the dogs.
Our youngest pup we got when she was four months old and she was well trained — if I do say so myself — and was an only pup, so she grew up thinking she was a cat. Seriously, I have pictures. The other two dogs we inherited when a close friend passed away over a year ago and they are older gals.
Like all dogs, ours bark when something has caught their attention. They all know that when the words “That’s enough” are uttered — usually yelled gruffly –they are to cease the noise. And they do. I usually let them get out a couple of barks — or a line of hound dog barks in the case of our youngest gal — before calling for a cease and desist.
But the middle child doesn’t always cease and desist upon command and has a bark that always grate on my early morning nerves. It’s always the same, never changes it and it’s like someone is steadily hammering.
BARK. *pause* BARK. *pause* BARK. *pause* BARK.
And it comes out almost like a tiger chuffing. I hardly ever hear the other two, unless they get excited which always happens when we get home, people they like have arrived or someone knocks on the gate. Any other time it is blessedly quiet.
What the studies and articles don’t ever talk about are the times when they are in face RAISING our blood pressures, creating stress and feel like they are trying to kill us.
Animals under the same roof are like siblings. And they fight, taunt, tease and tattle just like siblings. And like toddlers they will get into things. Things you try your best to keep them from.
Our youngest is a beagle mix so she’s got a nose on her that you CANNOT hide anything from. I don’t care how many bags you wrap it in, how much Febreze you use, she knows when there are chicken bones in the garbage. Thankfully she doesn’t get into the garbage to get them, but she does plant her nose on the side and give you puppy dog eyes. But she will find that stray goldfish cracker and she will get to it by any means possible. If that means working her way under a entertainment room chair, so be it. Does she get stuck? Sometimes. Do we have to move so she can get at said treasure so she doesn’t upset the coffee table? Sometimes.
The youngest was taught not to beg and we do not give the dogs human food while we are eating. At all. Ever. If they get human food, it is given to them when no one is eating. The other two were allowed to beg and were given food at the human table while humans are eating and will in fact beg.
I hate it. Middle child breathes on you sometimes while you are eating and it takes a few loud “Go lay down” before she’ll get the hint. But when my mom is there, she has a chihuahua mix that is an honest to god emotional support dog — meaning we don’t just call him one because she wants and does take him everywhere — that she will feed while she’s eating and is always passing human food to.
Problem being that when she does this at our house, middle child is trying to crowd in. I don’t like people giving my dogs people food, and yet sometimes they ignore me and slip them some. When this happens and they don’t do it correctly, there is a dog fight. Thankfully no one has drawn any blood and no vet visits are ever needed — YET.
Our eldest little lady is a full bred Scottish Terrier. And she is stubborn. And sometimes bounces. Like a stiff legged rabbit. For the most part, she’s well behaved, quiet and causes little ruckus. Unless she is trying to put our youngest in line because she has upset her Scottish values. Old ladies will be old ladies. With old bladders that are used to schedules and the freedom to come and go as it’s owner pleases. Which doesn’t happen anymore due to…
The cats are not allowed outside, but our bombay loves the outdoors and will sneak out with the dogs — since he thinks he’s one of them. I am clueless to where he got that idea except perhaps from my in-laws who have dogs and briefly owned him after finding him in the street with no front claws.
When someone carelessly leaves the door open, I get a panic attack if I cannot find one of the cats. It’s almost always the bombay or our blonde boy. Our blonde boy has earned the brat prince title in his name. Lestat barely has one up on him. He’s also the one who will pick on the others every now and again to change things up and raise blood pressure.
His sister by blood is almost a diva. Her and her brother like to get into it at the foot of the bed, usually in the evening when the humans are winding down for a nights rest. But they can usually be found curled up together. They are the youngest. Our bombay is the middle child and our orange tabby is the eldest, of all animals at a whopping 18 years.
I recently lost our 10 year old black and white to kidney disease that struck quickly and left a trail of tears and heartbreak. Our eldest is on a diet to help prevent any kidney problems but I get anxiety when I look over at her sleeping and cannot for the life of me see the fur rise and fall.
The red-eared sliders — the before mentioned turtles — don’t cause much problems. They have free reign of the yard and pool and only cause worry when they can’t be found when they need to be brought in at night. Turtles are really good at hiding. And just keeping them in a tank wasn’t really cutting it. And they learned how to get out of the tank. No matter what.
For all of the studies that tell us that our pets do our health good, remember that there is ALWAYS the other side of that coin. While their actions hopefully won’t ever actually kill us, they raise our blood pressure only to lower it, they stress us out and then calm our nerves. The sight of them creates happy endorphins and fill us with love and joy.
Even when they are trying to eat the flower arrangement. Which will probably make them sick and create some sort of mess on the floor.
Until next time, animals will always be a healing factor to any life. The good does in fact out weigh the bad and we certainly are better off when we share our home and lives with a four legged domesticated creature.