2017 has been a beast of a year and I wouldn’t be lying if I said I was glad it’s coming to a close. While the year has been full of challenges, my pets continue to be a tremendous support to me. Indeed, there have been many days when coming home to an overexcited pup has shifted my mood for the better.

Since my pets have always been part of my family, I’ve always wondered how those who don’t have pets manage to cope when down and out. Do they rely solely on human family members? Friends? Become workaholics? Or do they just depend on the kindness of strangers?

Either way, there are benefits to pet ownership that no human can ever match. In looking back over the year, I’ve realized a few of the most valuable benefits that have helped me get through 2017.

Six things about my pets that I’m thankful for:

Stinky belly smells

For whatever reason, I love the way Imogene’s belly smells when she’s gone too long between baths. Imogene (pictured below) has one favorite past time: Belly rubs. So I get plenty of opportunities to take a whiff. Kind of like smelling fritos paws.
pomeranian

My over-excited welcome wagon

Opening the door to a spastic dog is one of the best feelings I know. It never gets old, either. I can be gone for 5 minutes or 5 hours, and it’s as though I’ve been gone a million years. Imogene and Dash pull out all of the stops: Play bowing, barking, tail wags, zoomies.
yorkshire terrier

Zoomies

Speaking of zoomies – I’m thankful for when the cats (Mabel and Olivia, pictured below) get a case of the zoomies and trample up and down the house like a herd of elephants. I’ve yet to figure out what sets them off, but once they start it sounds like a stampede. It never

Being the perfect ice-breaker

One of the toughest challenges this year has been moving to a new neighborhood. Despite living in a city full of people, it’s been quite difficult to make friends. There have been many weekends where I’ve almost gone the without any human contact (which is like a death sentence for an extrovert). Fortunately, Imogene is the perfect icebreaker and conversation starter when we go for walks. No matter where we go, someone stops us to comment on her adorable-ness and ask, “What kind of dog is that?” It presents the perfect opportunity for me to chat someone up and get my fix.

Listening to me when I have no one else to talk to

But for all of the times when I don’t have anyone to talk to, my pets serve as the best listeners. I love talking to them – asking questions, getting the head tilt. It manages to cheer me up.

Soothing purrs and kisses

My cat Mabel is difficult. She’s demanding. Needy. Moody. Bossy. And she’s obsessed with me. I am her person. She does not appreciate anything (or anyone) getting in the way. There’s something special about knowing that Mabel loves me more than anyone else. And when we’re on the couch and she’s crashed out, purring away like a little motor car, it just makes me feel loved.
black cat
When it comes to your pets, what are you thankful for?