7 February 2018
So, you want a dog. Or a cat, or a chinchilla. Maybe you crave a furry face to greet you after your crazy school day. Maybe you dream of running alongside a companion, splashing gleefully in puddles. You could be longing for a loyal sidekick to test your innovative cat treat recipes. Perchance you wish to witness a hermit crab change shells, or maybe fireworks of excitement light up in your chest when you think about holding a pet snake. Maybe you want a buddy who thinks you’re the best in the world, even if you throw an airball in the finals, burn the birthday cake, or forget your line. Whatever your motivation, if you follow these steps, getting a pet is within reach.
Step One: Consider Your Obstacles
What is stopping you from getting the pet of your dreams? It is helpful to identify the things in your way so that you can better defeat them. For example, if your mom doesn’t want you to get a guinea pig because they give off an unpleasant smell, you might want to look into getting a chinchilla, which are “low odor pets,” according to a cursory search on the web.
Step Two: Talk to People
If one of your obstacles is convincing people to buy into your pet idea, you might want to gather some primary sources. Talking to your pet-owning acquaintances can yield powerful results. For example, sophomore Maddie Garrigus said that she enjoys holding her guinea pig Sundance “in [her] lap on the porch during a thunderstorm because Sundance really likes it.” Freshman Stephanie Sulc said her dog Mally is “really kind and loves to give kisses.” Jack Pazulski, a junior, loves playing with his friend’s dog, Ava. “She doesn’t understand the concept of fetch, but she does understand the concept of run away, so I just chase her around sometimes,” he said, later talking about how he admires the dog’s eyebrows.
Step Three: Other People’s Pets
Maybe you just noticed that Ava was not technically Jack’s dog, but his friend’s. This is a great example of what I call Substitute Pet Ownership, where you may not have a pet of your own, but instead you interact with other people’s pets. The benefits of this practice are twofold: you interact with pets more often, and over time you may succeed in conveying your intense and persistent interest in pet ownership yourself to any doubters of your dedication.
Step Four: Research
If you still find yourself without a pet after following these steps, you should probably start gathering quantitative data. To start, you could look at health benefits. Here’s a little help: a 2015 study by a Swedish company called JAMA Pediatrics found that exposure to dogs or farm animals as young children could reduce the risk of asthma. If babies get exposure to dogs they may have a reduced risk of allergies, according to a University of Wisconsin study. Additionally, the American Heart Association found that dog owners have a decreased risk for heart disease, probably because dogs are helpful if you need some extra motivation to exercise, something that I have personally experienced but that is also backed up by studies. A 2017 BMC Public Health study found that dog owners walked an average of 22 minutes more than people who don’t have dogs. This lowers the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes, according to NPR. The benefits are not limited to dogs, however. According to the Washington Post, looking at a fish tank can reduce stress, and a study published in the Journal of Environment and Behavior showed that watching fish actually lowers blood pressure. Another study reported on by thecatsite.com says that petting a cat lowers stress and improves the petter’s immune system. Sharing compelling statistics like these could be the bubbles to your soda; in other words, the key element to make your argument great.
Step Four: Persistence
Don’t give up! Persistence is key, especially if convincing someone is your main obstacle. Try bringing up the issue often, but not to the point of annoyance. Try to hit that sweet spot in the middle, but don’t be discouraged if it takes some practice. Whatever pet you have in mind, we at the Raider Review believe in your ability to persuade for the purpose of pets. You got this!