By Connie Rhoades Hinds, Editor in Chief TAME Pet Magazine
Pets are there for us at every stage of our lives. For many of us, they have comforted us after a breakup, welcomed babies and kept the house alive after the human kids have left for college.
Must Love Pets
If you pay attention to how a person feels about pets when considering a relationship with them, you are not alone. These days many people are waiting until a bit later in life to tie the knot. This means that single adults are often already pet parents. If it’s important to you how a potential mate will get along with your fur-children, here’s a few things you might want to address before taking things to the next level.
- Do they have allergies to any of your pets? If so, CAN they or WILL they do whatever it takes to manage the situation?
- Is their “parenting” style similar to your own? For example, how do they feel about pets on furniture, sleeping in the bed, or having them spayed or neutered?
- Do they have a bias against certain breeds or types of pets?
How well the two of you communicate and deal with any differences on these could be an indicator about other aspects of your relationship.
So, you have met Mr. or Mrs. Right. Not only are they perfect in every other way, they LOVE your animals too. In fact, they even have some cuties of their own! But, don’t assume that there won’t be any bumps in the road. Combining households can come also come with challenges.
Here’s a few tips to make the transition more harmonious.
- Don’t rush introductions between pets.
- Keep initial meetings short, under control and reward positive behavior.
Supervise all interactions.
- Don’t leave pets alone together. Keep a close eye on the new “friends”
- Provide a place for each pet to be comfortable and feel safe
These are meant to be brief suggestions on integrating your new family. Remember that our community is blessed with some phenomenal resources to help you out. If you run into trouble or just want to head it off, we have a reliable list of trainers, daycares, and veterinarians on the TAME partners page.
Want to include your best fur-friend in your big day? There are some super fun ways to have them be part of the wedding festivities.
- Have them be the ring bearer or flower girl
- Include them in wedding photos
- Allow them to be part of the wedding day preparations
- Feature them in announcements
Then Comes Marriage
That wagging tail, attention grabbing meow, chirpy tweet or even a splash in the fish bowl are welcome sights and sounds after a hard day at work. Pets, for most of us, truly make a house a home. How we relate to them could also have meaning when it comes to human interactions. Here’s a few things we can learn:
- Enter with a Cheerful Greeting. We always happily greet our pets after we’ve been apart. It feels good to know you are loved and missed. This is a pretty good habit to develop with everyone else in the house too.
- Be Quick to Forgive. Let’s face it, sometimes our pets can be a pain. They’ve been known to have accidents, puke on the rug, and wake us up just when we were getting to the good part of a dream. Yet, we always forgive them. Maybe, we could extend this kindness to our significant others too.
- Don’t take it Personal. When our pets screw up, we generally don’t assume they meant to hurt us with their behavior. Perhaps we could extend this courtesy to others we care about as well and give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, we do thoughtless things once in a while that we didn’t mean to, right?
In addition to this advice we can take from our human-pet relationships, there is actually some data to back up the idea that pets can be good for marriages and families.
It’s long been noted that pets are great for children. From helping prevent some allergies to teaching responsibility to simply being an unconditional friend pets are beloved family members.
But, did you know that other studies, such as one by the University of Buffalo, have shown that pet parents are often closer to each other, less stressed, and find their marriages more satisfying than those without pets? Yep! Their study points out that pets can make everyday life more interesting and entertaining. Plus, they have the ability to help calm us and provide support when things get difficult.
The Empty Nest
TAME has often acknowledged the many advantages to owning pets. For those who have raised their children and entered into a new phase of life, there is no doubt about how invaluable having pets can be.
With the house becoming perhaps a bit too quiet and a once packed schedule seemingly a bit too open, many people find pets to be a comfort and beneficial in many ways.
· They keep you up and going. Pets need exercise and so do you!
· They need you. Having a routine and some structure in our lives is good for us. Caring for pets can keep you busy and remind you how important you are!
· They can help you socialize. Not only is easier to meet people when you are out with your pet, there are many activities and things you can do with your pet that are fun ways to enjoy your pet with other like-minded people.
Studies have shown that all of these things are good for the mental and physical health of pet parents. The house may be different from what it was like with the human kids coming and going, but pets can help provide the energy and love that you might be missing.
There’s no doubt about it. From the first date to the empty nest, pets enhance our lives along the way!