Pets are humanizing. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve and nurture and care for all life.
⁓ James Cromwell
As we continue to celebrate the symbolism of February, let us delve deeper with this third of a series focusing on love and its different aspects. The very first kind of love we experience and share is also known as storge. It is that natural and instinctive love we develop for our family, our kin. It can also grow between kindred spirits, when friends become the family we choose for ourselves.
Another embodiment of storge is the bond between us and the animal companions we consider as family. It has been said that within this relationship lies the potential of experiencing love that nurtures, passes no judgment, and cares for us more often than we care for ourselves. This is the underlying reason we celebrate Love Your Pet Day every 20th of February — to show our beloved non-humans how much we cherish them.
About This Special Day
This unofficial but widespread holiday’s originator has not been established, but it gained ground in the early 2000s. Since then, it has become a memorable day to pamper our pets and show them how much they mean to us. Here are some of the ways we can celebrate it with them —
Give them more attention.
– Dedicate some more time for shared activities like walking, grooming, cuddling, and training together.
Treat them to something special.
– How about extra or new treats, a festive meal, or a day out in that park they enjoyed last time? A new toy with longer moments spent playing with you is always fun.
Make it a pet health care day.
– It may not be as pleasant, but seeing to your pet’s physical well-being is also part of showing them you care. Visit your vet for a check-up or the requisite shots. You can also take this time to examine and clean your pet’s toys, clothes, or beddings to maintain hygiene and ensure safety.
For those of us who love animals but don’t have pets, we can donate money to a local animal shelter or volunteer our time. We can also visit with a friend’s pet, bringing extra treats and cuddles or joining them in daily activities.
How Our Pets Care For Us
In addition to giving us heartwarming affection and unwavering loyalty, studies have shown that our pets maintain and improve our health as well. Researchers have observed the beneficial effects of caring for a pet in different areas —
Pets boost our immune system and encourage physical well-being.
– Contrary to outdated thinking, studies have shown that children growing up in households with pets such as dogs and cats or in a farm with furry animals have less risk for developing allergies, asthma, or eczema. Laboratory tests likewise show a stronger immune system among infants exposed to pets and livestock.
Other research focusing on adult health showed that pet owners maintain or improve their cardiovascular health through regular, moderate to vigorous leisure-time activities such as daily walks. The presence of a pet dog or cat resulted in significantly lowered blood pressure in owners as compared to those without pets. Another study observed lower relative risk of fatalities due to cardiovascular diseases such heart attacks or strokes among cat owners.
Pets provide mental health support.
– One aspect of this is seen through emotional interaction. Our pets can be highly aware of our feelings and immediately offer us comfort. Their intuitive awareness is the basis for animal-assisted therapy for anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
On the more practical side, caring for a pet helps us establish a regular routine such as physical activity outdoors or feeding times. For those with mental health conditions, these foster a sense of purpose, identity, and security. Maintaining these caring habits helps disrupt distressing and ruminating thoughts. Engaging with animals in a social setting has been observed to be beneficial for children with ADHD or autism spectrum disorder by encouraging focus and calmness.
Patients with cancer or those confined to hospitals have reported better pain management and treatment response — as well as improved interactions with nurses and doctors — when animal-assisted therapy is part of their management. Pet companionship likewise benefits the elderly with Alzheimer's or dementia by alleviating loneliness and depression.
Another Way To Celebrate
As fountain pen enthusiasts, we can keep our fur babies close to our hearts and celebrate their presence in our lives through our favorite tools. EndlessPens has helped creatives express their own love for animals through these fountain pens featuring their beloved companions —
Opus 88 mini pocket fountain pens are pocket-sized fountain pens that feature a blend of translucent acrylic body accented with a stainless steel clip and a cap featuring different designs. They are handy eyedropper-fillers with a generous ink capacity, efficient shut-off valve mechanism, and a #5 Jowo nib in various widths.
– Inspired by Naptime (our adorable princess ;) ), this special edition Mini Pocket Pen is in collaboration with @twenty_sides. The pen features the Naptime design on the cap and is available in either a clear or blue barrel.
– Mini Wine Cat (art by @onitatu99 ) features an opaque red barrel while the cap has the illustration of a cat with wine! This pen is equipped with a medium stainless steel nib.
– Mini Rabbit (art by @onitatu99) features an opaque dark green barrel with "Happy new year 2023" pink cursive inscription. The cap has an illustration of a cute rabbit holding a fountain pen on a flowery field.
– This immensely popular Endless Exclusive pocket pen from Opus 88 featured an original illustration of cute, crotchety cats from digital artist @twenty_sides.
– This was one of 6 Endless Exclusive colors designed by @micahfinds, all inspired by six soothing sounds, smells, sights, and sensations. Crowd favorite Soft Kitty Warm Kitty is a cool grey that leans towards blue, inspired by the coat of the Russian Blue cat. It evokes that feeling of a warm ball of fur curling up against you on a gloomy day, reminding you that tomorrow can be better.
Which one is your favorite?
On Loving Your Pet
Growing up, I was fortunate enough to experience the love of several dogs. All of them showed me and my family levels of affection and attentiveness that made me more aware of how caring animals can be. Although I don’t have a pet right now, I will always hold those experiences in my heart as examples of devotion to aspire to.
May we learn and continue to love as wholeheartedly.
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Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!