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Friday, August 21, 2009

Play with a Pet

One of my side jobs involves writing three columns for English learners every week in the local newspaper. Recently I've been writing about proverbs, and today I wrote about the dog being "a man's best friend."

In doing so, I reflected on one of the best things about dogs: they don't judge us. (Cats? Hmmm...) If you leave the room for a moment and then return, your dog is as happy as if you just came back from a long trip.

Where else can you get that kind of unconditional love?

So today's secret is a no-brainer: play with a pet. A dog, cat, hamster--I have to admit, it's easier to play with mammals than with fish; some birds have possibilities, though. I used to have a cockatiel who would give me a "kiss" (taking a sunflower seed from my lips).

If you already do this, cool. If you have a pet that you've been ignoring for a while, take her/him out for some fun.

And if you don't have a pet? Borrow one. Or, better, if your life allows, rescue one from a shelter, but only if you’re prepared to be responsible for it for the rest of its life. (It doesn't really sound like play, does it? But the rewards are great...)

So rediscover what our ancestors knew: some of the best people are animals. Get in touch with your wild side. Throw a ball, dangle a paper on a string, or just cuddle.

You'll be happier.

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