Its ‘Pet Week’ on Haba Naija this week and we shall be talking about the various aspects of pets and pet ownership.
Most Nigerians, however, do not know or have never experienced the joy of having a pet. In a country like ours where we struggle to make a living and put food on our tables, keeping a pet is the last thing on our mind.
In the villages and for those who rear animals, animals are quick to end up in a steaming pot of soup when the owners of these animals hit hard times.
One person who could testify to this story is my Aunty who once had a dog. Unfortunately, the proud status of ‘dog owner’ was gone with the wind during a certain period when the government was late in paying salaries- several months late. One morning when she had gone to work, her two sons who were badly in need of some cash but had no way to get it suddenly began to look at their dog as a very good and easy investment. Having no love for the dog, they quickly sold it and happily counted their ‘hard’ earned money! When my Aunty got back and realised the dog was gone, she got furious and demanded that the boys take her where the dog had been sold. To her utmost surprise, they took her to a popular ‘buka’ downtown. She was fortunate to meet the madam in charge and told her that she was willing to pay extra just to get her dog back. In response, the madam opened up a big cauldron of steaming hot Edikaikong soup ladened with dog meat! My Aunty’s dog! She was so distraught over her dog that she cried all night. Although most of us thought it was a hilarious incidence, I just couldn’t help feeling sorry for the poor dog.
To make it clear, a pet also called a companion animal can be defined as an animal kept primarily for a person’s company or protection, as opposed to working animals, sport animals, livestock, and laboratory animals, which are kept primarily for performance, agricultural value, or research. Therefore, all animals kept mainly for security reasons cannot be regarded as a pet. For an animal to be called your pet, you must show and shower that animal with a certain degree of love and affection. Given this definition, any animal (so long as it doesn’t bite or kill) can be adopted as a pet, even a goat as long as you love it!
Now, you have to bear it in mind that keeping a pet can be an additional expense on your budget but it does have some awesome up-sides. Listed below are a few therapeutic advantages of having a pet.
1. Providing Companionship:
An obvious advantage, pets do a really good job in providing company to their owners. Isolation and loneliness lead to a bad case of depression. Caring for a pet can help make you feel needed and wanted, and can help take the focus away from your problems. It may sound ridiculous but pet owners are allowed to talk to their pets as a way of dealing with their problems. Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
2. Research has shown that playing with a pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
3. Also,people who keep pets have a lower blood pressure when facing stressful situations than those without pets.
4. The companionship of a pet can offer comfort, help ease anxiety, and build self-confidence for the pet owner.
5. Having a pet also has the added advantage of helping you meet new people.
6. Research also shows that heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.
7. Pets are also said to have a therapeutic effect because they fulfil the basic human need to touch.
Stroking, holding, cuddling, or otherwise touching a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe you when we are stressed.
8. Having a pet can also help improve your exercise routine. Exercise doesn’t always have to involve a boring repetition at a gym. Taking a dog for a walk, riding a horse, or simply chasing a kitten around are fun ways to fit healthy daily exercise into your schedule.
9. Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.
10. Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets. This means that pet owners are less predisposed to having a heart attack than those without pets.
The most popular pet kept in Nigeria are dogs because they serve the dual purpose of security and companionship. However, other pets you can keep include cats, house rabbits, parrots and canaries. Having an aquarium which is a good way of adding beauty and colour to your home also provides you an awesome opportunity to care for a pet.
Go adopt a pet today!