According to a Guardian news story recently, fewer households own pets nowadays, compared to five years ago. And it’s because we live in smaller households and/or rented homes where landlords forbid them.

Mintel research shows that just 56 percent of homes have a pet when in 2012 it was 63 percent. The article’s author, Peter Ormerod warned that this is a “development that threatens to suck colour and joy from our lives”.

Pets, he says can lower blood pressure, help people recover from serious illnesses, lessen anxiety, and can be a godsend for children with autism and people experiencing mental distress. An additional benefit is that they can help people get a date.

Children who grow up with pets receive a priceless education in all that is important – birth, life and death, and adults who live with pets enjoy companionship and the opportunity to nurture something, especially among those who don’t have kids.

Animals teach us so much, Ormerod writes, “that life is actually really quite short and so should be filled as much as possible with eating, playing and sleeping”.

Naturally, we are big believers in the enormous benefits to be gained from pet ownership. Especially if you can give an animal in a shelter a permanent home. There’s a double bonus there – you get a fabulous pet, AND space is freed in the shelter so that another animal can be taken in.

Of course, we also promote that owning a pet comes with responsibilities. Part of those duties is ensuring your surroundings are suitable. A flat might not make the best home for a large dog, for example. And if your home doesn’t belong to you, then you do need to check with the landlord that you can keep pets.

If you can persuade him or her that you will do everything to ensure the animal doesn’t damage the flat or house – and there are lots of ways you can pet-proof a place – all the better.

 

 

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