Appreciating Our Pets and Other Animals of the World

Writer / Tara Dorsett
Photography provided

When I was 9 years old, my fourth-grade teacher gave my class a writing assignment. We had to answer the question, “What would you do with a million dollars and why?” While my classmates were scribbling about the houses and cars they would buy, and the places they would


visit, I wrote one sentence: “I would buy a zoo and make sure everyone could afford to visit as much as they wanted so they could learn about animals.” While my originality impressed my teacher, he still wanted a full-page essay. Here is that essay from a slightly more grown-up perspective.

Whether you believe Darwin’s theory or the Genesis account of life, there is one fact they both agree on – animals existed before humans. There must be a reason for that, but I will leave that up to you to find out. Throughout the centuries, animals have played a prominent role in history. Horses carried settlers and explorers across the country. Cattle and sheep provided food and helped clear the land. Cats and ferrets controlled the rodent population on ships. Pigeons carried messages. Dogs patrolled land and guarded livestock.


While we view animals a little differently today, they still have an important role to play in our lives. They provide help, companionship and entrainment. Even wild animals contribute to our welfare. Raccoons are natural gardeners. They till the land with their long claws as they search for rodents and worms. Are Raccoons Related to Bears? Find out at Possums and birds eat bugs that destroy crops and spread disease. Trees grow from nuts and seeds that are buried and forgotten by squirrels. Animals can make us laugh with amusement or sigh with frustration, but life will never be dull with animals around. Life is less lonely and more complete with animals beside us.

I believe people fall into three categories when you mention animals – they dislike all living creatures, they like their own pets and tolerate other critters for short periods of time, or they love critters of all kinds and can be particularly obsessed with their own pets.

For the people who dislike the animal world, I will only say that I believe you are missing out on a great part of life.


To the people who like their own pets and extend a certain amount of tolerance to others, you are off to a good start and balance out the third group.

For the people in the third group, I applaud your crazy obsession with all things furred, finned, feathered and scaled.

Whatever group you fall into, take some time to learn about the nonhuman beings around you. Walk through a park, read a book, add a feeder to your yard, watch a documentary. Maybe your opinion of animals will change and grow.

Someday, when my zoo expands beyond dogs, cats, ferrets, birds, fish, rabbits, lizards, tortoises, goats, pigs, raccoons, skunks and possums, I hope you will visit often.

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