A few days ago I read a report in the St Paul Pioneer Press regarding pet ownership rates. According to a recent survey, Minnesota ranks 42nd in the nation for pet ownership, with an estimated 53% of Minnesota households owning a pet in 2011 (Vermont is at the top with 71%). Since Skip and I come in contact with pet owners on a daily basis, that number seems low, although, on the other hand, I know a lot of people who are pet-less.
I remember a brief time when I was pet-less. My dog, Sheba, had run away while I was on vacation (she was staying with friends of mine). After weeks/months of hoping she would find her way home, I finally gave up, but decided (with a list of pros and cons) that it wasn’t a good time for me to have a dog. Three months in an empty house was enough, and even though my cons outweighed the pros, I adopted Sophie, and apart from a short time living in an apartment in Phoenix, ever since then our household has included at least one dog because they are so wonderful to live with!!
Whether it’s a dog, a cat, a rabbit, a parrot, or some other creature, animals have a presence that fills our homes and once we are accustomed to them, it feels empty without them. Yes, when our households include one or more pets, there is more to clean, more stuff to buy (food, toys, etc), vet bills, and if it’s a dog, walks to go on, so pets are not for everyone. But they sure bring joy, laughter, companionship, and comfort. I’m happy to be in the 53% percent.