I love holidays, and recently we’ve had so many to celebrate, from Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and even Valentine’s Day. But, my friends, here is something I can really get behind: LOVE YOUR PET DAY 2022! I’ll bet many of you did not even know it existed. Not to worry, because I am about to educate you.
National Love Your Pet Day is on February 20, every year. I wasn’t able to find the exact origin of it, but it started being celebrated in the early 2000’s. It’s a day to celebrate your pets, whether it’s dogs, cats, birds, reptiles or fish. It’s an excuse to do a little extra pampering for your furry friends (or feathered, scaly, etc) and spend some extra time with them.
If you’ve read my blogs or watched my videos, you probably know that I have some pets. Certainly, my dog, Hank, has played a big part in my stories by being the food-driven thief (my Valentine’s Day topiary) and big clumsy oaf (knocking over my Christmas tree) that he is. But what would I do without loveable Hank and his big, slobbery smile and his cold wet nose? I honestly can’t imagine a world where I didn’t have a pet, or 18 pets, but I’ll get to that later.
america loves our pets
Gallup polls report that 60% of Americans are pet owners. That doesn’t surprise me at all. If anything, I would have guessed maybe a higher percentage. During COVID, at a time where humans were having to shelter in place and stay home from work and school, anxiety-inducing isolation became a growing problem, as well as depression and loneliness. People needed companionship and turned to animal shelters to meet those needs
Many shelters were waiving adoption fees because of financial burdens that Americans were facing and wanted to make it easier for people to adopt a new furry family member. Applications for adoptions were by far outnumbering the available pets in need of homes.
some interesting facts
It’s very simple – PETS BRING JOY. Nobody can debate that fact. Speaking of facts, here are some interesting pet facts. The five most popular pets in America:
1. Dog – 40%
2. Cat – 25%
3. Fish – 8%
4. Bird – 4%
5. Hamster/gerbil/mouse – 2%
Growing up, we always had a dog, and at one point, my mom also had a cockatiel and I also had 3 finches and we had some fish. From the time we’ve gotten married until now, we’ve had dogs, cats, fish, hermit crabs, guinea pigs, a tortoise (he’s 16 now), and chickens. I feel like their was some other creature in a tank or terrarium, but I can’t think of what it was.
Here are some more numbers that might amaze you:
3.2 million – Number of animals adopted from shelters each year
710,000 – Number of animals reunited with owners after entering shelter each year
44% – Percentage of households in the U.S. with dogs
33% – Percentage of households in the U.S. with cats
36% – Percentage of decreased risk of heart disease if you own a dog
27% – Percentage of cats acquired as strays
10% – Percentage of pet owners who are knowingly allergic to their pets
94% – Percentage of families with an autistic child who benefits from having a pet
0 (zero) – Number of days in my own life that I haven’t had at least one pet
our family pets
Right now, we have 3 dogs, 1 cat and 14 chickens; plus, my son lives here and has 2 large aquariums with numerous fish and 2 teeny-weeny underwater frogs (they fascinate me!).
Three of our current dogs are elderly, so we’re in that precarious situation where it wouldn’t be surprising if we went from 3 dogs and 1 cat down to only one dog in a fairly short period of time. Our maltipoo, Max, has been ours since he was a puppy and he’s now 15-1/2 years old. Our tree-walker coonhound (Whisky) we adopted three years ago at the age of about 8, so we knew what we were getting into with him. Funny story… he was considered a ‘senior’ dog, so his adoption fee was only 50% of the other dogs. So, Whisky is our “discount dog”. Our cat, Carlton, is a Maine Coon (big cat!) who I inherited from my parents and is now probably at least 16 years old. We adopted Hank 4 years ago and he was one-two years old so he’s about 5 or 6 now.
Our family often jokes that our house is a convalescent home for pets. Our chickens, I guess, are getting older, in “chicken years”. We got half of them 4 years ago and the other half 3 years ago. Some people consider their chickens livestock, as opposed to pets. We’ve had them since they were baby chicks, and I could point to each of them and tell you their name and their personality, so I consider them pets. They also give us fresh eggs every day, which is more than I can say for the rest of our animals. I love them all, so that’s not for nothing, right?
why do we love our pets so much?
Here are a few more interesting numbers. The Top 5 reasons people are grateful for their pets are:
1. Their pet gives them unconditional love (22%)
2. Their pet helps comfort them when they are sad (17%)
3. Their pet makes them look forward to going home each day (13%)
4. Their pet helps them become a more loving person (10%)
5. Their pet teaches them to be more patient (10%)
Truthfully, I can’t argue with any of those reasons. I fully believe that animals help make you a better person. My kids and I used to volunteer at a local private animal shelter that housed mostly cats, and it was a unique and humbling experience. I feel like children who are regularly exposed to animals develop a special compassion that they may not otherwise learn.
worthy charities for pets
I want to give you some information on animal charities that I know are deserving of donations. Many of them are local for my area, but you should also check for local chapters of these organizations in your own area. I have only listed organizations that I know have been vetted by Charitynavigator.org. Charity Navigator evaluates a nonprofit organization’s financial health including measures of stability, efficiency and sustainability. They also track accountability and transparency policies to ensure the good governance and integrity of the organization.
Guide Dogs for the Blind
Placer County ASPCA (in California)
K9s For Warriors
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
We are definitely a society that treats our pets like family members, and I notice more and more that everywhere I go, people take their dogs with them now. It has become widely acceptable to take your dogs with you on vacation, to the store and even to restaurants. Is there a line between what should be acceptable and what is going too far? As I’m typing this right now, one of my dogs is laying on the floor by my feet, chewing on his toy, and another dog is laying next to me on the couch. Clearly, I have not yet reached that line.
Today I was in a store and I was standing next to an elderly man who had an elderly looking golden retriever on a leash. I was petting the dog, and I said, “You know, today is National Love Your Pet Day.”. And he smiled and said, “That’s exactly what I’m doing!”.
Thanks for stopping by my website today and for reading my blog. Celebrate your pets today! This week I will have another blog that shows you a tutorial on how to make no-sew bandanas for your pets and will also give you a list of some of the greatest pet toys and supplies that are on the market right now. And my video this week will be a tutorial on making treats for your pet, right in your own kitchen. Let’s keep this celebration going!