Gertrude Weaver of Arkansas was 116 years old when she died in 2015. As the oldest living person at the time of her death, she attributed her longevity to a healthy lifestyle and a good dose of kindness and compassion toward others. Weaver’s motto was “Treat people right and be nice to other people the way you want them to be nice to you.”
Plenty of studies back up Ms. Weaver’s claim that kindness is a key to well-being, and for most of us, our kindness and considerations extend beyond our two-legged friends and toward the four-legged friends also in our lives.
We know that the pet well-being is improved with good medical care, disease prevention and proper diet, but can it be enhanced by kindness? We certainly think so, because kindness offers the emotional support that pets also need, including, compassion and empathy. These, in turn, provide security and a sense of belonging, which ultimately leads to contentment.
Kindness Is Healthy
Even though modern pets generally don’t “earn their keep” by hunting, herding, guarding, or pest control, most pet owners do everything possible to improve their lives and keep them healthy. We spend our valuable time and hard-earned money on their nutrition, medical care, and entertainment, but why?
Simply put… because we love them! We cherish the bonds we create with our animal companions and the unconditional love they give back to us, and want them around for as long as possible. Indeed, our simple acts of kindness towards our pets in the form of proper care do have an effect on their well-being, because a happy and content pet will be less likely to develop illnesses or other problems related to stress and anxiety.
When Happiness Abounds
Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows that praise, affection, and time spent playing, exercising, and bonding all contribute to a pet’s happiness. Research on human states of well-being shows a direct correlation to happiness and long life, so it makes sense that the same could hold true for our pets.
Sharing Kindness With Pets in Need
It’s easy to be kind to your own pet, but there are plenty of needy pets in our communities, our state, and across our nation that could benefit from a dose of goodwill. There are many ways that you can have a positive influence on the well-being of needy pets, including:
- Volunteer to walk a sick or elderly neighbor’s dog, or spend time playing with their dog or cat.
- Donate to or volunteer your time at a local animal shelter, rescue, or animal charity.
- Offer your home to a rescued pet in need of a caring home while waiting for its forever home.
- When you’re ready to add a new four-legged family member, adopt from a local shelter or rescue.
- Get involved in community activities that benefit animals, such as a walk, run, or other activity that donates the proceeds to an animal charity.
- Report animal cruelty anytime you know or suspect it’s happening.
- Teach children how to respect animals and treat them with kindness by modeling responsible pet ownership, getting them involved in pet care duties, and discussing how to be kind to animals.
At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we are deeply committed to the well-being of pets, and strive to make that a reality for all of our patients and their families. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any concerns you have for your pet.