Animals are an integral part of our lives. The association between humans and
animals (including insects) dates back to prehistoric times when people relied
on hunting for their food supply. Animals also played an important role in the
development of civilization.
As time went by, animals provided companionship
as well. They were kept by the wealthy, the genteel and royalty for centuries
before the practice became common among ordinary people. The average working
person did not own pets until the 19th century when, with better wages and
living standards, common people were able to keep animals as pets. Today, pets
include all types of creatures such as snakes, turtles, iguanas and spiders.
Pets play an increasingly vital role in today's society. With smaller
families and the likelihood of both parents working, pets provide a vital link
in the family unit. They provide children with the opportunity to learn how to
care for and nurture young growing creatures. Children also learn to express
their emotions, show their love and concern, shoulder the responsibility of
feeding, housing and training their pets. Many children also learn, eventually,
to cope with the loss of a companion and to deal with the issue of death.
Pets, especially dogs, are also trained to aid handicapped people such as the
blind or the wheelchair-bound. These dogs are trained to lead their master, pick
up things or warn of any dangers ahead. Some of these dogs can even answer the
telephone or dial for help in an emergency when they suspect their master is
ill. The presence of these dogs has given new-found freedom to the handicapped
as well as eases their isolation and loneliness.
Pets also provide loving companionship to the elderly who live alone or are
lonely. Many elderly people's health improve tremendously with the presence of
pets. These pets give them a purpose to live, a
reason to wake up in the morning and provide them with fun and laughter long
enough for them to forget their aches and pains.
With the advancement of technology, many digital companions have been created
for children. These include the 'Digimon' but such a `pet' cannot provide the
same intensity of fun, laughter and love. A robotic dog which can walk or bark
artificially can never take the place of a real dog. As for me, I cannot imagine
my life without my pets, as they are a part of my family. Other than the various
each play, they have provided much fun and meaning to my life.