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  • Linda

The benefits of spoiling our pets

Be guilt-free and spoil on!

This may be a controversial topic to some degree because there are those out there in my blog land who may disagree with me. Let me start by saying that I am in no way advocating spoiling our pets to the point of creating negative behaviors in them, or making them take a higher priority than our children or our own well-being. My premise is that our pets are sweet creatures who give us much joy and unconditional love and deserve some spoiling!

I think a healthy dose of spoiling our pets is okay and can not only bring our pets but also ourselves, a lot of joy and entertainment.

The anti-pet lover would say, "But why spoil our pets? They are creatures that make messes, make noises, can be smelly and obnoxious, take up our time, and providing for them can cost a lot of our precious money! If someone has a pet they should be there to solely be instruments of our joy, or to fulfill a need such as being a guard dog or a therapy animal, or give us food such as milk, eggs, meat, or fabric. Animals are to be used, not loved." Ugh! Who are these people who just don't understand how we animal lovers think?!

The pet lover says in return "But you don't understand! My pet is more than a creature to be used to make my life easier. He/she is part of my family! My pet has stolen my heart and gives me so much unconditional love! They are intuitive and smart, forgiving and compassionate. They deserve to be spoiled! He/she is nicer than many people I know! They are creatures made by God not only for what they can do for us and they deserve to be treated well. "

The discussion goes back and forth, although I think more people are pet lovers than not. The people who do not like pets will never understand (and we must have compassion for them). The people who do love pets will always find new ways to spoil them, and that is an okay thing in my estimation.

One of the little admitted realities of spoiling our pets is that many times, if not all the time, we get more out of the act of spoiling our pets than they do. They are simple creatures, with simple needs, and do not ask or expect specific toys or experiences. We are the ones who probably read more into things than they do, and that is okay too. The more we know our pets, the more we know what would make them happy.

I'm not saying that people should neglect their children or their own well-being while putting all their attention on their pets, but by caring for our pets (and our children and ourselves) to the best of our abilities, we will live in a more kind and caring world.

The benefits of spoiling our pets make our personal worlds brighter. There is nothing like coming home at the end of a rough workday to be greeted by a fluffy or feathery friend who is happier than a clam to see you walk through the door. How can we not want to spoil these precious beings who bring us so much comfort and joy?

Through my years of pet sitting, I've seen some wonderful ways in which owners spoil their pets and it has warmed the cockles of my heart. I've had to advocate for some pets who have had too little care and so I'm tickled pink whenever I see pets treated well.

Many pet spoilers will provide their dogs or cats with added blankets in the winter, or buy them great outdoor wear like coats, sweaters, and cute hats. Even Halloween costumes! I've seen cat owners create cozy corners and nooks for their little friends, and catwalks upon the walls, or a bevy of boxes and tubes on the floor for playtime.

I've had a few clients order homemade and hand-delivered gourmet meals for their pets. Yes, it was a lot of money (probably), but you know what? If someone works hard to earn a lot of money, then they can spend it any way they'd like, and if that is on gourmet pet food, so be it.

Some people, after observing their pets' behaviors, get a keen sense of what their pets like and don't like and provide accordingly. For instance, more than a few of the pets I cared for received a little pet massage treatment when I would visit. Some owners provided special treats for their dogs - beyond basic biscuits, and would buy them specially made organic treats, hand-sewn coats, etc....

For some, spoiling a pet involves experiences like special hikes, extra-long walks, hydro-therapy, and buying specially designed collars. Is there a limit? Well, as I said above, if someone has the money they can do whatever they want with it. I wouldn't want anyone to judge how I spend my pennies, so if someone wants to spend their pennies or millions in another way, that is up to them.

Was Paris Hilton's diamond collar for her dog a waste of money? I know I would never do it. I am a much more simple person, but she has millions so the cost of a diamond collar was probably nothing for her. I just hope she also gives equal or more money to charities that help animals and people as well as purchasing a diamond collar for her sweet pooch.

Although food is a necessary item, some pet owners spend extra money for better quality food. I believe this is the best way to spoil a pet because the food we eat, whether we are human or not, has a direct correlation to our physical, emotional, and mental health. The healthier a pet you have, the more the pet will live a vital, energetic, and happy life, and you'll be happier and less worried about their well-being as well. Spoil your pet with the best quality food you can purchase.

Dogs and cats (and birds and other pets) are more domesticated than ever before and have moved up from being "just a pet" to being an integral part of the family or the best bud to someone who lives alone. Gone are the days when dogs are tethered to a leash and left outside with only a simple doghouse for shelter. In many areas today tying a dog up outside is considered illegal. Today's pet owners generally tend to spoil their pets and personally, I'm all for a little spoiling.

As our pets have won our hearts, they have also caused us to react to the unconditional love they've given us. We respond with gifts of pet clothing, specialty treats, and toys. People send their dogs to doggy daycares, specialty training classes, summer camps, and take them to the groomers to make sure they look and feel beautiful. For some, more money is spent on their pets' care than their own.

When I was a little girl, we'd dress up our dog or cat in our doll clothes. The dog would be the wearer of all the gift bows on Christmas day. The dog would have the pick of the bed to sleep on each night. The family pet is the one we'd run to when we needed to hug a "live stuffed animal" who understood and who licked away our tears, or who gently woke us up in the morning.

Today, when we take our dogs or cats to be groomed, isn't part of the experience not just for them, but for us as well? Won't we feel great when others comment about how beautiful our pet looks? We know that if people don't say it, they will probably be thinking: "Look at that gorgeous bow on the dog's collar!" "Look at that great outfit that dog is sporting!" Doesn't he/she look adorable wearing a collar that compliments the color of his/her fur?!

It is all good, isn't it? Spoiling our pets brings joy to all involved - the retailer who sells the specialty toy, the dog who plays with it, the owner who sees that the dog loves it, and the hours of entertainment it brings.

Although I'm mentioning mainly dogs and cats, there are many other types of pets that are spoiled. I think of my own sweet Puffy the cockatiel who had her own swimming pool and lifeguard stand, special toys, and a super big cage, and great toys, not to mention the run of the apartment.

Spoiling our pets can be a great hobby - a good, wholesome, harmless hobby. Sure, some people go overboard, but hey, for them it is fun, and we all need more fun in our lives, right?

For me, spoiling a pet equals creating joy for oneself. Providing our pets with special things and experiences creates a great bonding experience for pets and owners.

If your friends and family, for some odd reason, don't agree with spoiling your pet with all sorts of goodies and experiences, then just smile and continue to do your own thing because obviously, they just don't get it! LOL! You know the benefits you receive from enjoying your pet and that is all that matters.

The only time to worry if you are going overboard is when you start going into debt because so much money is spent on your pet that you don't have money for life's necessities, and you purchase a new collar instead of new shoes for your child, or the dog has the bed and you have to sleep on the pillow on the floor - LOL! Then, you might need a little therapy!

But joyful, wholesome, pet spoiling is overall a good thing. Taking extra care of ourselves, our families, and our pets, is important during this time of Covid-19 and worldwide societal upheaval and anxiety.

During this Covid-19 pandemic, I've heard that it is safe to be in a "pod" or "bubble", so huddle with your family and pets in your pods and bubbles and treat each other well. Reap the benefits of kindness towards one another, and love, love, love, your pets for they have a lot of unconditional love that will help propel you through this worldwide crisis.

Add a big dose of prayer into the mix, and we'll all end up on our feet with smiles on our faces!



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