On February 20, we celebrate National Love Your Pet Your Pet Day, a day to embrace one special trait that makes us human: our love of our pets! There are many things that differentiate humans from the rest of the animal kingdom, but one of the more unusual behaviors is our longstanding tendency to keep other animals as pets. While there have been a handful of other animals that have been observed keeping pets — Koko the gorilla and her cats are one well-known example — we’re the only species where it’s a common occurrence. Gallup reports that sixty percent of Americans are current pet owners. It only makes sense to commemorate something that’s so important to so many people, so on February 20, we celebrate our pets with Love Your Pet Day!
Why We Love Pets (and National Love Your Pet Day)
A. They’re great listeners
It’s not often that we can find a companion willing to sit through all of our complaints, but our pets never get sick of hearing our grievances. They are also delighted to listen to our favorite anecdotes (like say, that time we adopted our cat) and will never roll their eyes when we repeat a favorite story.
B. They make you feel good
That warm feeling you get after rolling around with your dog or that sense of peace you feel when you have a cat in your lap? It’s not just a feeling, it’s science. Spending time with animals is a great way to get a boost in feel-good hormones and has even been shown to improve blood pressure.
C. They’re adorable
Just like children, everyone thinks that they’ve got the most adorable pet. It’s easy to see why, though — they’re all pretty darn cute! Lizards, hermit crabs, gerbils, cats, dogs, birds — we all need someone to love, and when that someone is a living thing that needs our care, looks don’t matter, just that they love us back.
How to Celebrate National Love Your Pet Day
1. Show your pet something new
Just like us, our pets love seeing new places! Has your dog ever been to the beach? If not, consider taking a road trip to celebrate National Love Your Pet Day. Change up the location of your fish’s bowl, take your guinea pig on a tour of the house, or take your chameleon on a field trip to the porch to feel the breeze on his face.
2. Spoil them
Let’s face it: spoiling our pets is a lot of fun. So do it! Birthdays might only come once a year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have more special days with your pets. Celebrate National Love Your Pet Day by bringing home a new treat or toy, whipping up a beloved meal, or simply spend some extra quality time with your pet (we suggest pet-themed movies as an especially nice activity).
3. Adopt a pet
The ultimate way to celebrate Love Your Pet Day is to get a pet of your own to love! If it’s within your means, consider adopting a pet in need of a home. Explore local organizations that rescue and re-home animals in your area. It’ll change your life in ways you never expected.