Pets Need Our Love and Attention

Danielle - San Diego, California
Entered on June 18, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Pets Need Our Love and Attention

I believe animals can offer so much more than we give them credit for. There have been many times when I’ve been stressed or worried and my pet offered some relief. When Sunny lays his head on my lap and purrs. Or when Sasha puts her huge paw on my lap signaling me to scratch behind her ears. There are so many signs of affection that some people take for granted.

During one long walk Sasha and I stopped at the top of a hill and watched the sunset. I was stressed out about some paper that I had to write. Just sitting there with my dog allowed me to clear my mind. I was able to think. I didn’t have to talk. I didn’t have to listen to some one’s lame advice humming in my ear. Yet, I wasn’t alone. Sasha was at my side, her paw on my lap. My hand scratching behind her ears.

As we sat there I began to think of how lucky we both are. I realized that some people don’t have time in their busy lives to pay attention to their animals. Too often I’ve seen dogs lying in the yard, starving. Starving because mom or dad forgot dinner again. Starving for affection. If only people would realize that spending time with their animal would benefit the owner as well.

So often I’ve seen abused animals with open wounds and scruffed up hair. Every cat that we had growing up was a stray that we rescued from the streets. Sunny was so abused by humans he used to hiss and run away if even looked at. After trapping him, nourishing him back to health and slowly introducing him to the indoor life, he came around. Sunny became one of the most affectionate cats I’ve ever met. When I sat next to him on the couch he would come put the top of his head on my leg and start purring. If I was studying I would reach out my hand and rub his back while I kept reading. It can be as easy as that to give affection without taking precious time out of your day.

I’ve heard many people say that “cats are too antisocial.” Or “my dog can’t be trained.” I’ve had many different animals and I’ve never seen these complaints to be true. Some animals take a while to warm up. Take Sunny for example. It took him a few months before he finally trusted that we weren’t going to beat him. But we waited, and it was worth it. We found that all the work and the wait helped produce a cat that was well behaved, well loved and extremely affectionate. Animals put in a lot of effort to please us. From this effort we can gain relaxation and comfort. Therefore, I believe that if we give animals the love and attention that they need you’ll see that they have a lot more to offer than we give them credit for.