May is National Pet Month. To celebrate, pet lovers like us are urged to promote the benefits of having a pet to folks who don’t have pets.
How can words describe the benefits of having pets in my life? I wake up to my pets. They give me joy. I hang around all day at work with our hospital pets and the employees’ pets. They give me more joy. I go on a lunch romp with my Coco, and she meets and plays with her dog friends. That gives me joy!
Yeah, there’s a lot of joy going on. Let’s spread it around.
Pets at Work
If you’re reading Petful, you likely have pets at home. Some of you, I hope, can bring your pet to work.
Pets in the work place are a beautiful thing; more and more companies are getting on board with a pets-at-work policy, a win-win for everyone. Why? Here’s a list of reasons:
- Pets in the workplace don’t cost the companies anything.
- Workers often say it’s their favorite “perk” at work.
- Pets lower stress.
- Pets can boost morale and productivity.
- Pets can improve employee relations.
- Pets don’t have to be left home alone.
Improving Human Relationships
I am always amazed at how pets can break the ice amid tense human relations.
Say you’ve never liked Mr. Cranky Pants on the 5th floor, but you love his Frenchie, Mr. Snuggles, who sleeps beside his desk. When you stop by more often to give Mr. Snugs a pet, what happens? Miraculously, Mr Cranky doesn’t seem that cranky anymore.
You actually get to know Mr. Cranky. You smile at him when you see him with Mr. Snugs. Then you find yourself smiling at Mr. Cranky, even when he doesn’t have Mr. Snugs in tow.
Congratulations — you’ve just found common ground with another human being through his pet. Nobody who loves Mr. Snugs could be that bad, right?
In the veterinary setting, my employees deal with strong emotions every day. They share a lot of compassion and empathy with each other and with clients when caring for pets in need.
We share the care of our patients, our pets who live at the hospital and our own pets. Even though pet care is our life’s work, when illness strikes one of our own, the ties that bind us as workers become even more intense.
Currently, 3 cats live at my hospital. They have the run of 2 floors, sleep on couches in the break room, hang out on the front desk and computer, and enjoy lots of human contact.
A Close Call
This week, one of our own got in trouble.
Our oldest hospital cat, Obie, suffers from feline asthma. His human surrendered him to us at a young age; she was afraid of the cost of his lifelong care but didn’t want him to be alone.
It turns out she made the right decision. Obie is the worst asthmatic cat I have ever treated. Luckily, he lives in a veterinary hospital. Now 11 years old, he’s had multiple episodes of extreme respiratory distress and needs daily inhalers, other medications and emergency oxygen treatment on occasion.
The other day, the staff found Obie in his bed struggling to breathe. Worried hands administered IV drugs and held his little whiskers to the oxygen mask while we readied his oxygen cage. The color of his gums quickly turned from gray to pink. His struggling gasps for air turned into normal breathing.
The fright of death left his eyes, and he thanked us by catching a mouse the next day. Sharing this kind of an experience with coworkers is a better team builder than any seminar.
How does anyone get anything done with this cute kitty around?:
Spread the word this month that our pets are one of the most glorious parts of our existence. Unconditional love for a pet is like no other experience in the world. Your work day becomes less taxing and your home life richer when you share your heart with pets.
Lonely, frustrated or bored? Not happening when I’m around my critters. I celebrate National Pet Month every day of the year.
This pet health content was written by a veterinarian, Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD. It was last reviewed May 24, 2017.