February 20th is National Love Your Pet Day
It is estimated that 67% of the population in Canada are pet owners. Here in Peachland, it would seem 100% of the population are actually dog owners as we see them all daily, walking their pampered pooches along Beach Avenue.
Joking aside, Beach Avenue is in fact a social hub for not only our canine friends but also their “hoomans” too. As a regular (non dog) walker along the promenade, I have come to recognize many of the dogs and got to know their names, personalities and traits. That goes for their owners too. What better way to engage in conversation than to first say hello to Pete the Poodle or Tanya the Terrier (real names and identities protected). I have seen dogs taking humans for a walk, humans carrying dogs for a walk and even dogs in strollers taking a walk. Peachlanders love their dogs, and in return man’s best friends give them unconditional love and comfort which is especially rewarding during the trying times of this global pandemic.
In fact, the American Kennel Club says they have 10 science-based benefits of owning a dog. You feel less lonely, you have better heart health, dogs can de-stress you, they help in coping with a crisis, you become more social, you have greater mobility, you can live longer, and you are a happier person. For seniors, dogs can help with improving their cognitive functions. But most important; if you are a dog owner, you are more attractive to the opposite sex! Yes, that’s true. Who knew the positive physical attributes of George Clooney were really all about his Springer Spaniel?
Of course, dogs are not the only pets that we love and love us in return; cats are up there with reducing our stress and boosting our moods. Our feline friends are loving and loyal and there is nothing more rewarding than cuddling up with a kitty on your lap listening to her purring away while she allows you to cohabit with her in her home!
Top 10 pets in Canada today are in this order: dogs, cats, fish, birds, hamster/gerbil, snakes, horse, guinea pig, lizard and tarantula! Yes, you read that right (ughhh). I don’t mean to disrespect our 8-legged friends but on a personal note, I’m not sure how Tara the tarantula can offer any comfort or unconditional love. She is more likely to inhabit my nightmares if I am honest.
Also, on a personal note, I am amazed that rabbits are not in the top 10. Speaking from experience, they make great pets and unlike Tara (the tarantula) you get to cuddle and play with them. My girl Katie rabbit is getting on in years; she is coming up for 11 (average lifespan of a rabbit is 8 years). She is much loved by the whole family and it will be a sad day in this household when she does finally head to that “Watership Down” in the sky.
So, pets are a commitment whether they live for 5 years or 20. In return for their love and loyalty they need constant care; including daily exercise, feeding, grooming and regular vet visits.
If you are toying with the idea of getting a pet, why not adopt? There are animal shelters in both Kelowna and Penticton who can advise you, or contact the BC SPCA who are always grateful for caring and compassionate people who can provide loving homes for pets in need.