The benefits of having a pet are multiple and hold great appeal for retirees. Pets are great company. You may live by or be home by yourself. If there is a pet in the house you are never alone. They make good company and take your mind off of yourself. As one person said to us recently, "Yes, I admit it, I talk to my dog. He listens. I feel better. He doesn't feel worse. The day seems a little brighter. Then we go for a walk." What could be bad about that.
Don't make light of the "going for a walk" part. Getting out of the house and walking is a great way to exercise with a purpose. It is also a terrific way to meet new people. Ask anyone in NYC who goes to Central Park with their dog. Strangers talk to them....the pet that is. Eventually the conversation extends to the pet owner as well! Social engagement via a pet has great possibilities. Some of our single friends say it can be as effective as Match.com.
Having a pet requires care and cost. It isn't fair if you are always traveling to leave them home or in the care of a stranger. Grooming an animal can be time consuming. Taking them to the Vet can be a financial challenge for some people. Cleaning up after them is not so terrific. If they get hair or fur over everything, vacuuming takes time. There are no guarantees that you and a new pet will bond. For that matter, you may get the pet, but the pet may love someone else in the household more. Now that all the disclaimers have been said. Let's end on the one great truth of pet ownership: They are fun, distracting, lovable, and exciting to be around. Sounds like a winning combination to us.