Power of Pets

Ava Swietlikowski, Staff Writer

Almost every parent has heard the phrase, “Can we get a dog?” or “I want a pet,” but most will be quick to say “no” or “maybe later.” Over 85 million families own a pet in the U.S. according to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, but what are the actual benefits of having one?

One of the biggest advantages of having a pet around the house is the health benefits that come with owning one. Animals reduce stress levels and decrease feelings of loneliness. This can benefit people with anxiety and depression. “Having a dog has made me a happier human being in general and makes me not feel lonely,” stated seventh-grade student, Claire Choe.

Pets can also teach children responsibility. Since you have to feed, walk, and clean up after an animal, kids are taught how to care for a living creature. An article by PetMD says, “Kids who take care of dogs learn what it feels like to have a living creature rely on them, and that teaches responsibility in a way little else can. Caring for a dog creates a sense of empathy and respect for life. It teaches commitment and consistency, and it builds self-confidence.”

Middle schooler Kira Davies says, “I have become so much more responsible with having a puppy since you have to do all the training with them and having one has made me just an overall better person.”

Service animals also make a major impact on those in need of them. Those with physical disabilities, autism, mental illnesses, or other disabilities can be assisted with a furry friend. They can provide emotional support with people that have PTSD and other mental health conditions.

Overall, pets can have a positive impact on families, provide support, companionship, and build responsibility among people all over the world.