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AN AMAZING FACT: Around 63 percent of all U.S. households (71.1 million) have pets, and more than half of these households have more than one animal. The two most popular pets in most Western countries are cats and dogs. In the United States, a 2008 survey showed that dog-owning households outnumbered those owning cats—but that the total number of pet cats was higher than that of dogs.
Pets are household animals that people keep for enjoyment or companionship. There are health benefits to keeping a pet. They have been shown to help relieve stress and lower blood pressure. In fact, there are medically approved “therapy animals” used to visit people who are confined. Walking your dog gives you exercise, fresh air, and sunshine (and perhaps some social interaction). The most popular pets are, of course, dogs and cats. Worldwide there are about 202 million cats owned (can you own a cat?) and about 171 million dogs who have owners.
In case you are looking for something a little more interesting than a dog or cat, here are a few strange pets that people own. How about a hedgehog? They are nocturnal, so you’ll need to stay up late to play with them. Some people have enjoyed skunks as pets. But one of the most interesting is the Madagascar hissing cockroach. They don’t bite, sting, or fly … but they do hiss when you poke them!
The Bible talks about how to care for your animals. Whether it is livestock for your livelihood or pets for pleasure, the Bible says, “A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” (Proverbs 12:10). In other words, be kind to animals. They are God’s creatures made for our enjoyment. Someday we will enjoy even greater freedom to interact with animals in an earth made new, a place where we will not have to worry about getting hurt.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.