Pet owners speak
By Jim Bucher
Photo: The beloved Bucher family French bulldog “Ella”
Being a seasoned print journalist writing for the Dayton City Paper (does a dozen or so columns make me seasoned?), I’m still learning a thing or two – which is, you can teach old dogs new tricks.
How ironic is that? Especially when writing about people and their pets.
I knew this back in the day as a TV news reporter. When we aired stories about kids or animals, the phones would ring, emails would flood in and, yes, we’d even get cards and letters. So, it wasn’t surprising at all when two weeks ago, while writing about our pets with my “Buch’s Wild Kingdom” column, my Facebook comment section blew up.
OK, not really. But it was the most response I’ve gotten so far.
People and pets – most of us can relate, and people did. What is it about a cat or dog that seems to strike a nerve? Is it because of the unconditional love from a pet? You could have the worst day on the planet, but after arriving home, your four-legged, furry friend is ready to greet you and end that horrible day on a high note.
If you’ve never owned a pet, you’re missing out, in my opinion.
Here are some statistics: 63 percent of households harbor at least one pet, which works out to approximately 71.1 million homes and an astonishing 382.2 million animals.
Pet ownership is big for businesses, too. According to the American Pet Products Association, pet owners will spend upward of $50 billion on pet charges in 2013.
What’s the justification for this madness? With all the attention and money lavished on them, what do pets offer in return?
Pets are a pretty wise investment. It appears that what pet owners sacrifice in terms of time and money, they get back in better health and increased happiness. Research backs that up. In one study, when people were presented with stressful tasks in four different situations – alone, with their spouse, with their pet or with both their spouse and their pet – they experienced the lowest stress response and the quickest recovery in the situation where they were only with their pet. In another study, patients who spent a short amount of time with a dog before an upcoming treatment or operation experienced a 37 percent reduction in their anxiety levels, quite possibly because the animal’s presence helped distract them from their concerns
You get the idea.
Back to the matter at hand, I thought I would use my Dayton City Paper column space this week to share some of your comments.
First, a little background: I introduced my family’s furry friends to our readers. We have Cindy Lu Who and Tinkerbelle, our SICSA adopted cats, Ella the French bulldog (pictured above) and Chinny the chinchilla (don’t ask).
Now, the request in my Dayton City Paper column was, “Tell me about your pets.”
That’s all it took.
Jamie wrote, “No pets right now, but will be getting one as my youngest child is now 6.” Kim said, “I ordered 33 more chickens today, don’t ask.” Hey Kim, I won’t.
Kimberly wrote, “I have one beautiful corgi.” The corgi lovers are well represented.
Jim wrote, “When you have the smartest dog in the world, how many do you need? By the way, my dog Henry is a corgi and he rules. Kimberly, tell Buch how incredibly smart they are.” OK, Jim I believe you.
Deb said, “We have four dogs, three cats and a goat. I think you need the goat, Buch.” I think I’ll pass on that one, Deb.
We did have a little conflict from the poodle group. Linnya wrote, “I have two standard poodles, and oh yes, they are the smartest.” Now, we don’t need a dogfight here.
Veronica chimed in with, “We own five cows, five alpacas and two kittens.”
Susan said, “Two dogs, two guinea pigs and a rabbit.”
Jim then came back with, “Is anybody gonna’ say it – and a partridge in a pear tree?” Well said, Jim. Well said.
Rose added, “We have two cats and a dog. The dog really isn’t mine. Michael (her husband) picked him out, but if anything is to be done with the animal, it is me doing it. He runs away every chance he gets (the dog, not her husband, I assume) and the neighbors bring him back. He has barked all day, wants to be inside rolling on the carpet.” (Again, I believe she’s referencing the dog.)
Edy added her two cents, “Technically, we have just one fat cat, but he brings his friends home for meals.” Mark has one rescue dog, Laura houses 10 cats and Lynn has two felines but said, “It’s not enough.” A different Mark added, “I have two little dogs who are my children.”
And yet another Mark wrote, “Does a squirrel in the fireplace count?” I think, technically, yes.
Finally, Ella wrote, “Jim, your original article on your pets made me laugh and cry. It was such a funny and sad mix. You remind me of the late Erma Bombeck; you both are so talented and are like the neighbor next door. This story was touching in many ways.”
Wow, thanks for the nice words, Ella. I promise we’re not related, but we do have one thing in common – the love for our pets. There’s nothing like it.
The views and opinions expressed in On the Beat are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes only.
For more than 25 years, “Buch” has been a local television icon. Known and loved by thousands in the Miami Valley, his followers describe him as trust-worthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and a role model. When it comes to promoting your business, Buch has the ability to grab your customer’s attention. Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.