By: Kelly Graham, MSW, RSW
Most pet owners know that pets aren’t just pets; they are part of the family. But why is that exactly?
As our attachment grows, we often begin to view our animal companion as having an important place within our lives and family dynamic. While our pet can be cute, there is more than just the cuteness factor that makes them play such a large role in our lives.
Unconditional Love. When you choose to bring a pet into your life, you begin to love them like you would a family member, and that love is reciprocated when they come to trust and rely upon you. They are always around, so you become accustomed to their company. You get to know their personality and quirks. You may not be able to explain exactly why you love them, but you know that you do. Not only does your love for them grow, but so does their love for you. Through thick and thin, they will always be by your side and showing you just how much they love you.
Accepting and Non-judgmental. Unlike every person you have encountered in your life, animals tend not to judge you. They love and accept you unconditionally, which can be a pleasant and refreshing change from the usual social pressures. They don’t care what you look like, if you are having a bad day, or if you want to spend a day on the couch eating junk food, they still love you. This can help you feel acceptance that you may not receive from other human relationships.
Dependable. Although they may not be able to help you with your work or clean your house, you know that they will always be there for you. Every time you come home, they will be happy to see you. You know you can count on them to be there when you need them the most.
Comfort and Support. Your pet can be good at picking up emotional cues. They can be there when you need comfort and support. Having a physical presence there supporting you can feel very reassuring and help you release your emotions. Physical touch and the rhythmic motion of petting can also be relaxing and soothing for both you and your pet.
Forgiving. Pets don’t hold grudges. While they may be mad at you for a short time, it doesn’t last long. You are likely also very forgiving of them. While they may initially do something to upset you, it can be hard to stay upset with something that is always happy just to be with you.
They Are Part of Your Lifestyle. Whether it is having to walk them every day, socializing with others who also have a pet like yours, or just seeing them all of the time, they are a big part of your life. You need to be there to feed and take care of them. They rely on you, and in return, you get a love able companion who thinks the world of you. They become a part of your identity. Even your family and friends get to know and love them, so being without them becomes pretty tough once you’ve adapted your life to include them.
Pets become part of the family because they can provide you with love, support, acceptance, and friendship, just like a family member would. When your pet plays such a big role in your life, you love them.
Ultimately, they are the family you get to choose.
NWO’s source for all things relationships, mental health, wellness, lifestyle, and pandemic support. Kelly Magazine is a mental health outreach initiative created by Kelly Mental Health and supported by Kelly Mental Health Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the community in the area of mental health.
In support of @kellymentalhealthfndn
© COPYRIGHT. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. WEB DESIGN BY KMH