Everyone agrees: Pets rule!

Mr.+Comber+%26amp%3B+Family+with+Kona

Mr. Comber & Family with Kona

 

Samuel Crosby  Teachers and Pets:     Ever wonder what teachers do when they come home from a long day of obnoxious questions and impatient students? Some teachers fall asleep on the couch, others might raid the liqueur cabinet, but some walk through the door to a tail wagging and the warm eyes of their beloved pet. English teacher Mrs. Lisa Sopher walks inside to her “boys,” as she calls them. These “boys” are two Boston Terriers named Gatsby and Banjo. Mrs. Sopher says that “coming home to these two, is the best feeling in the world. They are [her] anti-depressants.” Mrs. Sopher feels as though a connection between another living thing is much stronger then any material connection.

Mr. Comber & Family with Kona
Mr. Comber & Family with Kona

     If you’re looking for a special connection between a pet and a member of the Hereford faculty, you don’t have to look far. Walking by Guidance Counselor Ellen Fitzkee’s office, it’s hard not to notice numerous pictures of her dogs. Danny (11), Charlie (2), and recently deceased Peter (12 1/2), are Mrs. Fitzkee’s foundation. Her love for her Vizslas, a dog breed from Hungary, is overwhelming. “The best part about pets is that their love is unconditional. Its a rare thing to find these days. Humans on the other hand, they have conditions,” She said. Her dogs comfort her when she’s stressed, make her laugh when she’s depressed, and blow her away by the emotional outpour they bring her. “It doesn’t matter the type of day you’ve had, they will love you regardless. With my line of work, its hard to keep myself grounded, but they do exactly that. They keep me grounded,” She said.

     According to petpartners.org, spending playful time with your pets can reduce blood pressure and lower your anxiety levels after a busy day. Whether these days are a long day at school, a boring wait at the DMV, or dealing with students, most can agree that our lives can be stressful.

     Science teacher Mrs. Erin Czan doesn’t currently have a pet but grew up with a Golden Retriever named Kobi. She said, “Pets boost your spirits, and I believe that high spirits help increase an individual’s health.”  With many other health benefits that pets bring, the best part about pets, according to Mrs. Czan, is “Their ability to love no matter what. That is important in this world.”

 Students and Pets:

      Growing up in Hereford, its hard not to have animals. Most people have dogs and cats, but some students have many more. Sara LaMonica (11) owns three dogs, one cat, four horses, some cows, and some chickens. “We use to have more so it’s a lot easier now than it use to be,” she said. Even with so many pets, there is one in particular that stands out from the rest: Bob. Bob is a male, one year old Jack Russell/Beagle mix. “He is really weird, and when I’m with him, there is never a boring moment. He is always there for me., and when I come home from a rough day, his smile makes me laugh,’’ Sara said.

     Having only a dog and a cat, Mack Lange (12) has a more laid-back household. Her black lab, Colby, and cat, Soxy, aren’t Mack’s best friends but still have a special place in her heart. “I’ve never really had a special best friend connection with animals. I also don’t have favorites. On the other hand, I get to have another relationship where people don’t judge me or back talk,” She said, laughing. “I believe that the benefits of owning pets are tremendous. They make a person more responsible and outgoing. Generally a pet owner is more laid back, from my experience that is,” she said.

     Studies show that students owning pets are more involved in activities such as sports, hobbies clubs, and chores. (Melson 1990) With depression and anxiety on the rise nationally we need to consider other ways besides medication. Children living with pets have significantly improved moods, more engagement, and become more nurturing people. According to Cain Survey, 1985, Seventy Percent of families surveyed reported an increase in family happiness and fun subsequent to pet acquisition . With this being said in 1985, those numbers are bound to go up.

Emily May with Elrod
Emily May with Elrod

    From a guy’s perspective, owning a pet isn’t much different then a girl’s. Jason Kopp (9) has a three year old dog named Sandy. He describes her as “a great companion” and that she “has her own special personality.” Sandy has helped Jason through a lot. When Jason was in elementary school, he wasn’t the same kid. He was shy but when his family got Sandy he started to shine. “My self-esteem went up and I became more outgoing,” he said. “Pets are a good thing. They make people happy and its hard to find happiness in a world full of poverty, violence, and death.” he said.