This post is lovingly contributed by my eight-year-old daughter Shawna who is the best cat keeper I know.
If you have a cat or a dog that's good. Cats are funny, playful and cuddly and dogs are playful funny and have a lot of energy. But you should get them young; if you get them young they live a longer life. I'm not saying that you should just leave all the older animals to a terrible life. A cat can make you live happier life whether you have one scampering around the room or cuddling close by your side, a cat brings happiness. maybe you should get one or two!
You know, Shawna is right. According to research, cat owners are one-third less likely to have a heart attack!
If you don't have room in your budget to pay for the expenses that come with pet ownership, you don't have to forego the benefits of spending time with pets. There are plenty of ways to get your pet fix. Do a little research and you may find opportunities to spend time with animals without the costs of pet ownership.
While visiting Florida recently, my husband and I visited a cat cafe, something my daughter has been wanting to do for a long time. Shawna even has a business plan to own her own cat cafe! At a cat cafe, patrons are able to interact with the cats while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea and snacks. Don't worry, we didn't let the kitty drink our espresso!
At the stables where my daughter took riding lessons, some people volunteered to work with the horses and clean stalls. That is a pretty big job but it is great for people who love horses.
When we adopted our two kittens Halfmoon and Brokenstar they were staying at a foster home. The volunteer took in a mama cat and then raised the kittens until they were old enough to go to a forever home. Her home was full of energy and laughter!
There are other ways to spend time with animals without making a lifetime commitment to their care.
Volunteer with animals
For example, we raised guide dog puppies for Southeastern Guide Dogs for several years. Simply fill out the application and wait for a litter to be born. In addition to the benefit of having a pet in your home, you will also be learning something new as you receive a manual which teaches you how to raise the puppy for the first 18 months of its life. You will also have plenty of social interaction during the monthly meetings as well as talking to people who see you out with your dog and want to know more about what you are doing.
During the time you are responsible for the guide dog puppy, you will teach him or her some basic commands and manners. While raising a guide dog puppy, you can even take it inside stores and places where other pets are not allowed to go. That's because guide dogs have to be acclimated to all different types of environments.
Owning a dog motivates you to move your body more because you are inclined to take your canine friend for a walk at least daily. People with dogs typically walk 20 minutes more per day than non-dog owners, meaning more fresh air and sunshine as well as more exercise. (source)
Another great way to spend time with animals is to volunteer at a shelter taking dogs for walks or socializing cats, cleaning and feeding animals, and helping others to adopt.
Pets make our lives better
Having pets makes us smile and laugh more, a habit we talked about earlier in this series. Pets reduce stress by making us feel comforted and happy which improves our mood. One university study even suggests that petting an animal improves our immune function.
Consider adopting a pet or obtaining a grown pet from a rescue. A rescue is a great way to own a pet without going through the pains of training a younger pet. If you already own a pet, consider yourself blessed! I'd love to see your dear sweet pets and Shawna would too, so please share a photo of your pets on social media today using the hashtag #31habits so we can see! We'll be looking!
UPDATE: Since this post was written we lost sweet little Brokenstar to a genetic disorder. We later adopted Lyra Lu. She was sick in the beginning, but I brought her back to health using this remedy.