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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Importance of Pets: A "Best Dressed" Contest

This is "Petey" the orange tabby! He's all decked out in patriotic gear for the 4th of July. Do you have a pet that likes to dress up? Send us a photo for our "Best Dressed" contest -

By Moira Grainger
There’s an age-old saying that “a dog is a man’s (person’s) best friend,” but in fact, any pet can bond with its human in the same manner. This article is dedicated to all of those creatures who have helped us keep our sanity over the last few months during COVID times.

While our pets may not be human, they are often capable of mirroring their owners’ behaviors and expectations, thus leading us to believe that they do indeed possess human qualities. A dog or a cat with a strong personality or preferences is often a reflection of its human’s own idiosyncrasies. They certainly can pick up on our emotional vibes and moods, whether we realize it at the time.

Regardless of whether your household includes a dog, cat, bird or other, for most of us, they ;re not simply pets, they are part of the family. If you have ever been on the receiving end of that unconditional love and affection, accompanied by undemanding companionship, then it’s a safe bet that you’re hooked for life as a pet owner.

Especially in COVID times, pets work wonders for your body, soul, and mind. They stimulate your sense of well-being. They give you love, they give you laughter, but above all they give you happiness. They don’t care about your looks or whether you haven’t showered in a few days. They are unconcerned about your financial status, your social standing, your age, or your state of health. They see you for who you are, and it’s probably this quality of unconditional acceptance that gives our pets the true advantage and sets them apart from humans who have a much more complicated approach to attaining inner peace.

Anyone who has loved and owned a pet knows that these beings can be a source of enormous comfort in times of disappointment or grief. Loss of jobs, life partners, friends, or loss of lifestyle and familiar surroundings can cause humans much pain, but our pets only know that their owner can be counted on to take care of and feed them. In exchange, they are able to simply “be.”

Lately, for most of us, social distancing has curtailed our human interaction outside the home, unless we are lucky enough to own a dog or two. It’s okay to acknowledge that while “walking the dog” might have once been considered a chore, it has now become an opportunity to generate random encounters and conversation with the neighbors (or strangers who are in your neighborhood doing the same thing.) Walking a pet makes us approachable, and it’s a great way to generate some light and friendly dialogue!

Don’t have a dog? Believe it or not, cats can also be leash trained, but there’s a bit more coaxing involved. First, try putting on the harness and letting your feline friend wear it around the house. Be sure to have plenty of treats on hand to reinforce this behavior. When your cat seems comfortable, add the leash, more treats, and eventually take the leash and harness experience outside. It's easier than you might think. Eventually, your cat will decide that it’s all their idea and will get up and initiate the walk.

In honor of all our pets, we invite readers to join us in a “best dressed” contest which kicks off with our first entrant, Petey, who is featured on our cover this month. Reader entries can be submitted via our Facebook group (Indian Hill Living) or by emailing us at

This is a fun way to make your personal fashion statement, especially if you are missing the opportunity to get dressed up and go out and your dog or cat has an easy-going personality. There are plenty of seasonal costumes available to make those walks more of a noteworthy outing! Outfits available from online retailers and in pet supply stores go well beyond the basic collar or scarf and will certainly make you the envy of the neighborhood.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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