1. While America spends billions of dollars annually on the strangest pets like capuchin monkeys, even tigers, macaws and aquarium fish besides the customary dogs and cats, the backward countries may not afford all that expense. Some are auspicious like the vastu fish in India.
2. Yet pigeons adorn mosques and even the middle age home partly because of the pigeon racing competitions. Dogs and cats live almost everywhere. Did you know that untold wealth is bestowed upon dogs and cats by wealthy Americans in their wills as a reward for companionship in their final days?
3. Shall we consider pets a luxury though expense would be incurred? Hardly. Pets sometimes bring returns like through the sale of puppies.
4. Pets have lived with humans since the beginning of time after the domestication of animals commenced and people settled down to a farming existence. Guards were needed for the fields and livestock and dogs excelled at that.
5. Pets live in our blood. Caught up in concrete jungles, pets exhibit the other side of life, raw nature that we seem to have forgotten to our detriment. Learn lessons from zoos, snake parks and aquariums though. Nature channels on television are valuable as educational lessons but hardly provide the real life experience. Step into an aquarium or bird market and feel the difference instantly. Better still, make it to a nature conservation park and witness the tingling live experience.
6. While we do not wish to imprison wildlife but let them roam free, Americans have proved the educational value of pets for children. Most pets are cared for by kids who learn to manage little lives through feeding and cleaning, even arranging medical support when necessary. The same qualities of caring would help them in the adult days when they fight the battles of life.
7. Amongst the listless life of cities where fraud and cruelty is the norm, children experience a little world of caring in their safe cocoons before they step into the big, bad world. The memories of that little squirrel or parrot would endure lifelong.
8. A lively interest in pets could provide the incentives for hobbies or better still professions that may turn out to be the best option for teenagers lost in the world of violence, drugs and alcohol. Veterinary courses, wildlife wardens and forest rangers are jobs that may not be in great demand but are valuable options with all the unemployment and loss of direction visible everywhere. Fish breeding is an extensive lucrative business that could become a job option. The worldwide pet business is too big to imagine and too many find work there.
9. An interest in the exotic world beyond the boundaries of the urban culture is the bonus that comes with keeping pets. The windows of the mind open up to accommodate a spiritual approach and the Buddhist philosophy of preserving all forms of life would apply. Instead of violence on the streets, the kids are learning live lessons in compassion at home.
10. So make a beginning even if you thought nothing of it for the sake of the youngsters and the family values that must endure across generations. The dachshund or bulldog may serve the prestige purpose among family and friends but the greater underlying values need to be appreciated more widely.