When Channel 7 launched Cats Make You LOL and saw their ratings soar, I thought it was a short lived run -- a stroke of beginner's luck. But weeks later, the show's concept is still going strong. They've recently aired Dogs Make You LOL and Pets Make You LOL. Clearly I was wrong. Our furry friends are no longer just 'pets'. In fact, they can act as a catalyst to improve any relationship. Here's how:
1. If You're Single, a Pooch Can Help You Attract the Right Mate
Just like seeing a man with babies, there is something incredibly attractive about seeing a man with his furry best friend. My guy friend recently took a French bulldog puppy out for a walk and for half an hour was surrounded by women. If you're looking for a companion, a puppy may be the way to go. Especially if it's a French bulldog or a pug.
2. Coupled Up? A Pet Might Just Help You Prepare for a Bub
Now that I'm in my early 30s, my Facebook feed is filled with either weddings or babies. If it's not weddings or babies, it's photos of pets as substitute or 'practice' babies. Just like a baby, pets (especially a puppy) need constant care and attention. If you're not completely ready for a baby but you are ready to make a 10-20-year commitment, a dog may be a good option. Keep in mind though that no baby or dog can repair a relationship, so you want to make sure your relationship is stable before introducing a new member to your home.
3. For Young Families, Pets Teach Children Soft Skills
According to my real estate agent, "Are pets allowed?" is the top question asked when couples and young families are looking for a home. And it's no surprise. Pets can help children develop social skills, responsibility and family values. They are part of the family unit. James Edwards, COO from Pet Circle says: "Mothers will comment on how having a new puppy in the home increases their children's sense of responsibility, their happiness, and their social activities.
4. Pets Can Be Great Companions for Empty Nesters
When children leave the nest, it can feel lonely at home. A dog can provide companionship, a sense of safety and keep you active. If you've just downsized your home, consider getting a small dog. Be sure to check if your building allows pets first.
5. Your Social Calendar Will Be Filled
My friend Jody owns three golden retrievers and their social lives are more active than hers: "Buddy and Penny fill my social calendar up with scheduled play-dates. They're more popular than I am and keep me connected with other pet owners. When I put in an order for takeaway, we tell them to deliver it to Buddy's house. The dogs have created our social lives," she said.
It's one of the most fulfilling relationships you can have, but just like any relationship, you need to be prepared to give and take.
As you already know, owning a dog requires time and effort. They don't come with an exchange and refund policy. Think through your long-term plans as a family before introducing a new member.