Pawsibly Purrfect

Pets at home and in schools

OTHER ANIMALS When most people think of pets, the first animal that comes to mind is a dog. While this makes sense, as dogs are one of the most common pets, there are several other animals that would make great pets. “I would really like a cat,” sophomore Ellie Featherstone said. “I’ve always been a cat person or a rabbit person. I like my dog, but I’m not much of a dog person and I think it would be really fun to have another type of animal.”

According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, 70 percent of U.S. households have a pet. Whether they are a cat who thinks they are better than their owner or a dog who worships them, they are someone’s little furry child and a typically loved part of a family.
“My other pet died and I just wanted another one,” freshman Taylor Kubesa said. “They keep me company when I’m home alone and it’s nice having someone else with me.”
Many people want dogs but feel they will not have time for them. During COVID many people adopted puppies as they were home more often.
“I have a one year old Goldendoodle named Tucker,” sophomore Ellie Featherstone said. “We’ve been wanting a dog for a long time and my sister had been begging for one for six years, and because of COVID we were all at home more so we could take care of the puppy.”
When people’s parents have pets, some teenager’s reactions are to not want them when they move out. Although, a lot of people get used to having animals around and decide they do want to have pets in the future.
“I would like to have one or two cats when I’m in an apartment and have a steady job,” Featherstone said. “I think it’s really important when you’re alone to have a pet so you’re not alone, and I’ve always wanted a cat and think it would be fun to have the responsibility of a cat.”
Pets often stay at home, cuddle their owners, and warn cars not to mess with their house. However, some can be trained to be of more use to the general public.
“Duncan and I are learning to be a therapy team that goes into schools, libraries, nursing homes and wherever we can help people,” retired resource teacher Ms. Peggy Eggers said. “The idea is to provide comfort, affection and support. Once he reaches nine months, we can test to become certified. Duncan will need to demonstrate he can follow commands-sit, down, stay, come, leave it. He will need to greet people politely, walk on a leash, and greet other dogs in a friendly way. We have to prove we have a good and respectful relationship with each other. Duncan will also need to approach people in wheelchairs, walkers, crutches… In other words he will need to demonstrate proper canine manners. We have been practicing and learning by coming to the high school since he was 12 weeks old. We go to Gretna Middle and Aspen Creek Middle school. We have also visited Palisades Elementary.”
There are obvious drawbacks to having animals in schools; for example, they could be a distraction and some people are allergic to specific animals. However, there are also several benefits.
“Some benefits of having animals in schools are, developing social skills, teaching responsibility, building self-esteem and companionship,” Ms. Eggers said. “Animals in schools can provide comfort, affection and support. It is amazing the looks on peoples faces when they see us coming down the hall. There have been many times someone says, ‘Thank you, Duncan made my day,’ or ‘I needed that,’. There is something special about petting a dog. It is relaxing and de-stressing.”
Whether it is in schools or at home pets can help relieve stress, reduce depression, and brighten someone’s day. While they do come with a few negatives, many people believe they are outweighed by the positives related to having a furry friend.
“Dogs love unconditionally,” Ms. Eggers said. “They accept all people. Students who may need a friend.”