Opinion| Appreciate animals in your life

By Sabrina Lee, Columnist

I am the proud owner of a two-and-a-half-year-old Havanese dog named Emmy. She is the absolute light of my life, and I look forward to seeing her every time I come home from school. However, with Gov. Pritzker’s new stay-at-home order, my visit home is indefinitely extended, which I’m sure she’s very happy about. That being said, she often appears lonely and sad. She seems to feel neglected and will curl up in her crate hoping someone will play with her. 

I do not speak dog, therefore I am merely speculating how she feels. We as humans lead busy lives, no matter what our occupation. My mother is always working around the house, cleaning, cooking and tidying things up. My father works in his office at home all day, my brother works on his schoolwork in the basement and I work upstairs in my room. 

Not all of us have time to play with our pets all day, however, we shouldn’t take them for granted. For many of us, staying at home is a new concept, but not so much for our pets.  It’s possible that when everyone is home but busy, they could feel more neglected than when people are usually gone. We should try to be more perceptive of the way our pets are feeling. 

Our pets are capable of empathy, they can tell when we are sad, upset or angry. When you’re upset, they’ll probably try to cuddle up against you to cheer you up. Take that extra time you have at home and check to see if your dog has been moping lately. Loss of appetite, doing their business in the house or tearing up a tissue box can all be signs that your pup isn’t feeling the love. Watch your cat and see if she has the same enthusiasm as she had the last time you saw her. 

All living things require love and affection from time to time and domesticated animals are no exception. I’m not saying any of us are intentionally neglecting our pets, but merely that we should be mindful of their needs as well as our own. Different animals have different needs and as pet owners, we should acknowledge and accommodate them. 

Pets are known to feel love and their love for us is unconditional. I really don’t think anyone else would be as excited to see me as my dog is when I walk through the front door. Every wag of her tail reminds me that no matter how bleak life seems to get, there is always happiness just around the corner. 

Lately, every time we open our phones, there seems to be only bad news to take in. I can’t go five minutes without hearing the word “coronavirus.”  Perhaps in this time of social seclusion, we should look to the joyful presence of our pets to stay positive and to make sure they stay positive as well. 

Maybe we should take after our pets and live each day to the fullest, and be sure to smile and find joy in the little things in life. Give your dog a belly rub, let your cat sleep on your computer charger and make sure your turtle is eating properly. 

Let’s remember not everything is lost in the midst of this pandemic, and there is a silver lining to this cloud. This extra time spent at home is a gift; let’s not look at it as a prison. Cherish the time you get with your pets; they won’t be around forever. 

Sabrina is a junior in Media.

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