Last week I took my car to a local business to have the oil changed. This is a privately owned facility and not a chain. You actually get out of your car and wait in the waiting room until your vehicle is ready. They're a little more expensive that going some other places, but the customer service is great, they also wash cars, and they're faster than anyplace else I've been.
One of the managers has a dog that hangs out in the lobby. His name is Rojo and he is a young golden retriever mix. He's very calm and laid-back, spending his time wandering around the chairs, going to different people for petting and attention. It's obvious that he loves people and nothing seems to phase him. All of the regulars know Rojo and seem to look forward to visiting him while they're waiting for their vehicles to be worked on.
As I sat waiting I noticed the reactions of the other customers. When he would walk over the person's hand would reach out to start scratching him and they would smile. Because of how sweet he is there was an immediate bond that seemed to lighten people's burdens. Watching this interaction it hit me how universally people seem to love being around pets. It's been long known that pet owners live longer and have lower stress hormone levels.
I'm not saying that pets can't be a problem. I've certainly dealt with enough chewed up clothing, scratched up furniture, and carpet stains. I also see the medical and behavioral frustrations that pets may cause my clients. But people still care for their fuzzy, feathered, and scaly friends despite these issues.
Because of the joy they bring. Rojo wants nothing more than to be loved and petted. He asks nothing else from these perfect strangers, and people very obviously love doing so, which in my mind means that they're getting something back. Most people like not only to be loved but to give love, and pets want our love more than anything else.
Our new kitten, Pippin (who is about 3 months old now) is being kept in our master bathroom at night to keep him out of trouble while we sleep. And to keep him from pouncing on our faces in the middle of the night! When we go in there in the morning he begins to meow and carry on. But it's not because he's hungry as he will initially ignore the food we'll put in his bowl. He's very vocal because he wants attention and to be held, purring loudly as soon as we pick him up. There is something incredibly satisfying about seeing his joy at our love, which in turn gives us joy.
So let's all remember how much our pets mean to us, and forgive the latest chewed up pair of underwear.