Celebrating National Pet Day


I am writing this on National Pet Day,

So perhaps it is fitting that my cat Maxine is sitting on my lap, one of her favorite spots any time and almost any place I’m sitting. Sometimes she leaps up as soon as I pull out my chair before I can even sit down myself. She never even meows for permission; she just quietly and gracefully jumps up and settles in. Even when I make her leave, it never seems to discourage her for the next time.

Maxine is my first inside pet. I was raised on a farm in an era when animals belonged outside, so it took some time for me to get used to the idea of a house pet. But I’m glad I did. Maxine is docile, possibly because she’s thirteen years old. She came to me from a shelter, as a stray without even a name, And now here she is, a queen in my house.

I expect there are many such house pets who rule in one way or an another, who are loved and pampered members of their families in ways that the barn cats of my childhood never were. Those cats were fed in the milk house, had their litters of kittens in the haymow, hunted mice wherever, and were friends with our dog, who also stayed out of the house. And we played with all of them, just not in the house.

National Pet Day was founded in 2006 as a way to enjoy and celebrate the love we have and receive from our pets of all shapes and sizes. Our pets offer unconditional love along with companionship that’s always there regardless of whatever mistakes the owner makes. Somewhere I read that no one has ever had a stroke or heart attack when cozied up with a pet.

Maybe I shouldn’t admit it, but I often tell Maxine hello and goodbye as I come and go.

Of course, there are many options for pets other than dogs and cats: fish, gerbils, rabbits, and turtles are a big part of this day, too. Some two-thirds of Americans have pets, with 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats among them. After dogs (the most popular pet) and cats (second) the most popular pets in order are fish, birds, and hamsters/gerbils/mice.

There are just some pets that don’t give the same kind of companionship as an old cat curled up on one’s lap, but they probably appreciate being celebrated on National Pet Day, too.

Animals are such agreeable friends–they ask no questions, they pass o criticisms. –George Eliot


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