Guest Commentary

Guest Commentary: Retired Falls Church Veterinarian Reflects on the Benefits of Having a Pet

By Steve Rogers

The first animals were domesticated about 12,000 years ago. Animals were used for food, hunting and protection. The person who first used a horse to hunt had a huge advantage over everyone else.
Eventually things changed and animals became more than beasts of burden. They became domesticated and filled a far different role. These animals, especially horses, dogs and cats, became much more than tools or food, they became an integral part of the families they lived with.

In most cases this human-animal bond led to pets becoming four legged members of their families. In today’s world where a significant part of the population lives alone, a pet is often the only thing that is there to greet them or share their home. Also, many people need a companion to get through the day.
These “comfort” animals play an integral part in allowing their 2-legged family members to cope with their daily stresses. To prove the point, during the height of the pandemic, the shelters emptied out as people looked for a companion to soothe their loneliness.

I was fortunate to practice companion animal veterinary medicine in Falls Church for 45 years. A veterinary friend put it best when he said, “It’s great to get paid for something you would do for free.”
Veterinarians witness the strength of the human-animal bond daily. We celebrate when you get a new puppy or kitten. We understand the fear you have when your pet is ill and we share your pain when end of life decisions are being made.

We appreciate the trust you place in us to provide the best care for your 4-legged family members. Personally, I am thankful to my many clients who allowed me to be a small part of their families.