Are pets worth the trouble?

My dog Susie says

Are pets more "pain" than pleasure?

Since I'm just a dog and the writer of this blog, I probably seem slightly prejudiced on this question. However, I'm going to keep my analysis as unbiased and based on I can. A few months ago I wrote a 'bark' about the health benefits of owning a dog from the prospective of Americans. Let's look at some of the comments from other places around the globe.

England's young royals, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton were recently photographed walking with their black Cocker Spaniel puppy named Lupo. Doctors and medical experts around Europe immediately forecast an increase in longevity for the couple. Dog owners enjoy longer and more positive lifespans because of reduced blood pressure and obesity resulting in robust cardiovascular fitness. Score one point for pets.

Let's talk about the mental side of all of this. It seems that owning a pet, like a dog, also greatly enhances one's self-esteem while reducing depression. So while walking a dog helps in the physical side, owning a pet can facilitate the development of social contacts leading to a more optimistic view of your personal life and where it's heading. This is way better than Zanex. Score another point for pets.

German's studies showed that pet owners spent 32% less time in hospitals than non-pet owners and saved over $5 billion in health care costs. Australian studies proved that pet owners went to the doctor 12% less and saved over $3 billion annually in health care expenditures. Even in China studies have shown that having a pet in the home greatly reduced doctor visits and sick days at work. Chinese women even refer to their dogs as son or daughter... a surrogate for their missing children who have moved out. Taking care of their pets helps alleviate their loneliness. "And pets don't talk back and are nonjudgmental listeners" according to many Chinese mothers. Score point three for pets in the pleasure column.

I asked my Big Mommy, Sandy, if she could help with the negative side of the question. I wondered how much the average pet owner spent on their pets. It seems that the "average" owner spends about $300- $500/year for medical expenses like checkups at the Vet, vaccinations, pills etc. Food and treats costs another $250-$500 a year for a dog. She doesn't have any idea what a cat or goldfish might cost. So it looks like an average pet-owner (dog) probably spends up to $1,000 more per year than a non-owner. So score one point for "pain". If your pet has to have an operation then score two more point for "pain" both mentally and monetarily.

It looks like a tie between pain and pleasure. However, studies for children with autism showed dramatic improvement when a dog was present in their home. Military dogs have not only saved soldiers during war for generations, but also aided returning warriors who have been physically disabled or mentally traumatized. Canines are also being used to reduce pain and suffering for humans at hospitals, psychiatric venues, prisons, schools and nursing homes. I could go on and on but it seems to me that the benefits of owning pets are overwhelmingly positive. Whatever a pet may cost in money, it's returned a hundred fold in health and happiness.

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy

P.S. "Whoever coined the phrase you can't buy happiness with money, never owned a puppy or kitten."

For more "Susie says" barks go to:

For info on Sandy Steele go to: