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celebrate your furry (or scaly) friend

National love your pet day

Sometime in the early 2000s, someone decided to take the saying “Every dog has his day” literally and dedicate a day for not only dogs, but also for cats, fish, birds, lizards, or whatever other creature we might have as pets. Since we treat our pets more and more like family, it was inevitable that they would get a day to be celebrated just like mothers, fathers, and grandparents. In the U.S., 60 million homes have dogs, 47 million have cats, and 12 million have fresh-water fish. Americans have always loved their pets. Based on dollars spent on pet products – a mere $70 million in 2017 – you can see we certainly do cherish our lovable friends.

I think most people would agree that the worst day at school or on the job can be turned around by coming home to “Fido” or “Fluffy,” tail wagging, running up to greet us. Even those with allergies have found pets to love; and thanks to cross-breeding, we no longer have to settle for a fish. Pets are great for emotional support, assistance for those with medical conditions, protection for families, and just good company to have around.

Thanks to social media, we can see pictures and videos of adorable puppies and kitties without having to go to a pet store or even leave the couch. Pets can be helpful in making us a little more active, too. If Rover needs to be walked each day, we get to accompany him and turn that boring 30 minutes of exercise into a more enjoyable experience. Plus if the neighbor’s cat is out, you we might even get a quick run in. Pets are also good for the heart. Some studies show pet owners have lower blood pressure and even lower cholesterol levels.

So, don’t just “let sleeping dogs lie.” On February 20, take pets for a walk, play some fetch, and maybe even get a new toy.