From taking on responsibility together to growing and bonding together as a family, being a pet parent is a life-changing experience that offers couples a host of benefits
Whether it’s a dog, cat, bird, turtle, fish or hamster, you’re truly blessed and privileged if you’ve journeyed through life with a pet for company. From brightening our lives with their endearing antics and mannerisms (read: wagging tails, excited barks, quiet purrs, flapping wings and more) to treating us with an endless supply of love and affection even as they accept us with all our faults—having a pet is an experience like no other. And for couples, even more so, as it offers an opportunity to nurture and raise another being, bonding and growing together as a family in the process. Here’s why experts and pet parents are recommending and vouching for this life-altering experience.
Our pets, our children
Dr Srishti Parekh, a dentist, and her husband Vivasvan, a pediatrician, both animal lovers, adopted their cats, Toothless and Mischief in 2015. They went on to adopt a dog in 2018, as they’d always wanted their child to grow up in the company of pets—especially a dog. She tells us, “Getting pets has made a huge difference in our lives. They have exemplified and defined the meaning of true love and taught us to be more humane and compassionate. For us, our pets are like our children and I would absolutely recommend pet parenting to other couples.”
For young couples, especially, a pet can prove to be a unifying factor that strengthens their relationship in the long run. Shruti Poddar, a homemaker, and her husband, decided to adopt their dog Oliver in 2012 while they were living in the US. While her husband was a canine lover all along, Shruti, had her fair share of apprehensions. However, everything changed once they brought home their bundle of joy, who they lovingly call Ollie. Shruti says, “Ollie changed our lives and became the central focus. We became more inclined to spending time at home with him and inadvertently with each other. Couples who’ve been married for a few years tend to have differences in opinion and their fair share of arguments. Getting a pet at this time, can offer an opportunity to bond and develop a common perspective. Ollie has seen us through many ups and downs. He was and always will be our first baby.” Parenting a pet is also the perfect tutorial and learning ground for couples who are keen to start a family and don’t know if they’re ready. Shruti and her husband, who now live in India, and are parents to a seven-year-old daughter, opine, “Having a child is a huge responsibility and pet parenting comes close. It gives you an opportunity to take on responsibility together and watch a little life grow, witnessing various milestones along the way together.”
While 2020 was full of hardships for many, couples with pets were relatively more occupied, distracted and thoroughly entertained by their pets. Truth be told, it was pets who had a whale of a time with their favourite humans around 24×7. Affirming the benefits of pet adoption, Dr
Prerna Kohli, clinical psychologist and founder, MindTribe, elucidates, “It is no secret that pets bring joy, energy and love into our lives. Numerous studies have suggested that couples with pets are not just happier but also more connected and in sync with each other. Pets teach couples to work together as a team despite their differences, be more responsible, fit and disciplined. They help enhance social skills and reduce screen time and feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety.”
No walk in the park
But adopting a pet is no walk in the park (pun intended) and is in fact a huge decision, one that requires deliberation by the couple. While it is a joyride for the most part, it comes with its own set of emotional, physical and financial challenges that could lead to bones of contention, and so, must be reviewed and addressed beforehand. Parekh opines, “Pets are not things or gifts. They need attention, love and care. You must be prepared and ready for the added responsibility. Be sure to do your research and consult other pet lovers before jumping in.”
So, if you and your partner are thinking of bringing home a pet, study the pros and cons first before you do so. One thing’s for certain, life will never be the same again, and we mean this in a good way.
Photos Courtesy: iStock