ORLANDO, Fla. – Americans will proclaim a national holiday for just about anything — the U.S. just celebrated Lima Bean Respect Day on Wednesday, for example — but one of the more objectively meaningful observances is already pawing at the door.
The last Sunday of April is National Pet Parents Day, a time to pause (paws?) and reflect on the similarity of many modalities of pet ownership to the experience of raising a kid, from the good to the bad.
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First of all, if you own a pet, congratulations! You’re statistically part of more than a two-thirds majority here in the U.S., as 70% of American households report having at least one pet, according to studies published by Rainwalk and the American Pet Products Association.
If you’re in the club, per se, the good folks at National Today have come up with a few simple ways to observe National Pet Parents Day:
SPEND SOME TIME
If you haven’t enjoyed a lazy Sunday with your critter recently, why not now? Pamper your pets a bit, break out the treats and keep them brushed up on whatever tricks they know, let them be the center of attention for a little while.
If we’re talking about a pet that spends most of its time in an enclosure — such as a reptile, an insect, a bird, a fish or what have you — take this as a sign to give that living space a bit of TLC. Buy your rabbit a salt lick at a feed store, or treat your Madagascar hissing cockroaches to a kind spraying of water in their tank, whatever applies.
Returning to cats and dogs, Central Florida is rife with creative places to get your pets some new things, or to just let them roam around. Dogs at a park can normally find canine companions to romp with, and a cat on a leash will always have lizards to chase around. Alternatively, if your pet prefers staying in, you’re already set.
TAKE SOME PHOTOS
Take it from me that any excuse to take family photos with your pet is likely a great one. Though grainy as a result of it being shot with a timer from a distance on a smartphone, the picture at the top of this story is my own example. The little guy is Theodore Toesevelt, a 1-year-old Japanese bobtail mix named after the extra toe he has on each of his front paws.
Since making the eight-hour round-trip to Tallahassee last summer to pick him up from a shelter, Theodore has proven to be quite the baby in terms of his needs and behavior, but he makes up for it. Our pre-adoption research suggested the breed is inherently friendly, loving and chatty, all traits reflected in Theodore, but we like to think he’s just thankful to us for taking care of him, at least when he’s behaving.
We take plenty of cute pictures as Theodore keeps himself busy with his everyday baby activities, but it’s fun in a memorable sort of way to get dressed up and to stage a nice family photo.
CALL THE VET
Does your pet need to gain or lose some weight? Could it benefit from a new prescription or a slight change to their diet?
Perhaps, but the only way to know for sure is with a trip to the vet, and National Pet Parents Day is a great opportunity to flex your parental responsibilities and give your preferred pet physician a call or email to schedule a checkup.