Friday, September 5, 2008

Pets as Best Friends: Better Than People?

Despite sounding overtly callous, do pets make better best friends than people because they can neither throw wise cracks at you nor verbally abuse you?

By: Vanessa Uy

Probably many had said their views regarding this somewhat perennially thorny issue time and time again. As a pet owner doing fly-on-the-wall-style observations on other pet owners, the best thing about – if not the only thing – keeping pets and lavishing enough money on them to send someone growing in a third-world country through college is that your pet can never say anything bad about you.

This might serve as a consolation for anyone whose hobbies include cross-dressing like the late and former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, or the former mayor of New York City Rudi Giuliani. Even the mouthiest Chihuahua can easily pass muster the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Some pets are even pampered by their hedgefund billionaire owners to the point that their pets acquire a carbon footprint rivaling that of a typical Indian Air Force ace combat pilot. Yet many still wonder if the pet care / pet accessories industry has been lucrative enough in single-handedly keep our ailing global economy afloat?

First of all, it’s not easy to resist the cute and cuddliness factor of de rigeur pets such as cats and dogs and the “novelty factor” of more exotic pets like brightly colored species of iguanas. Our worldwide pet obsession has even spawned a black-market industry in the trade of animals that belong in the endangered species list. Even dangerous wild animals that are practically unsuitable as pets – like highly venomous snakes, big cats like lions and tigers are still routinely traded on-line by unscrupulous hucksters despite the crackdown by the wildlife trade regulatory agencies.

The appeal of owning pets is even bolstered by recent studies that even the most common type of pets – cats and dogs – both have therapeutic properties to their owners by relieving stress and lowering one’s blood pressure. Proving yet once again that humanity always has an inexplicable link to the animal world.

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