The bond between people and their pets is a strong one. In fact, most pet owners nowadays consider their pet to be a cherished member of their family. Here are some interesting statistics about pet owners from a survey conducted in 2000 by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Given that this data is over 10 years old, I’m assuming each of these numbers has risen in recent years! See if you can relate:
- 87% include their pet in holiday celebrations.
- 83% admit to talking to their pet in a special voice (Really? The other 17% are LIARS)!
- 78% greet their pet at the door before their spouse.
- 67% celebrate their pet’s birthday.
- 65% have sung and/or danced for their pet. Many have created jingles they sing to their pet.
- 53% have taken time off work to care for a sick pet.
- 52% have cooked meals especially for their pet.
- 43% share their beds with their pet.
- 43% display a photo of their pet at the office.
And it’s in that light that my heart went out to the woman in the cubicle next to me this morning as she told me what happened to her 3 year old Jack Russell Terrier over the weekend. Through held back tears, she talked of how Maggie loved to chase cars down the country road where they live. I’ll spare the gory details, but suffice to say Maggie got too close to one of those cars on Friday night.
My family used to have a Jack Russell Terrier so I can easily see how this could happen. They are sturdy, tough, playful, and sometimes aggressive dogs with a need for continuous speed and action. They need open spaces for high levels of exercise to get all their energy out. We eventually had to put ours down when it made several strike attempts at humans. It’s never easy to lose a pet who has grown to be a part of the family.
So to cheer her up this afternoon I took her downstairs and bought her a cup of her favorite ice cream. Well, not ice cream really; frozen yogurt to be exact. We have a place called ‘Yagoot’ in the lobby of our office building. It’s too sweet for me, but she loves it, so this afternoon we walked down together and I bought two cups of frozen yogurt. I had strawberries, and she had yomance and pecans. She told me all about Maggie’s life, how their grandson was with them when they saved her from an animal shelter, how the dog down the road knew something was wrong on Friday night, and how they had a difficult decision to make on Friday as Maggie gasped for breath while lying on the road. A small sacrifice, but at least she knew that others understand the difficulty of what she’s going through. I”d like to think it helped her through a tough Monday…