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Last updateWed, 16 Aug 2017 8am

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Wanted: Unconditional Love for Valentine’s Day

kitty

Opening my eyes and rolling over on my mattress, I realize that I’m not crushing a pillow with my body, rather a living, breathing ball of fur. Though quite an uncomfortable position, it becomes regularity. By the luxury demands of the princess, I move with grace, making sure I do not wake the twitching feline while she dreams. I can imagine she wondered in excitement as soon as that faux fur blanket touched the bed; you put that there for me, right? But when a merciful living thing shows you nothing but love, it’s pretty hard to argue for extra leg room.

Arriving home is the big event. Where have you been? Did you miss me? I missed you. But as a college student, I can’t always be home. I attend class, work, and maintain a social life. As soon as I step foot in the door she’s lurking, her eyes beaming at me from the shadows of my living room. Her demeanor is too cool. Within minutes she is at my feet. While I can stand there annoyed by the tickle on my leg after a long day, I look on the bright side. I have love.

Even better, I have a permanent valentine. With the month of February forsaking hearts, singles everywhere pine away wondering when cupid will shoot them next. But what we covet most in humans; loyalty, friendship, and everlasting love, can all be found in a pet. Even better, I have a permanent valentine. With the month of February forsaking hearts, singles everywhere pine away wondering when cupid will shoot them next. But what we covet most in humans; loyalty, friendship, and everlasting love, can all be found in a pet.

No matter what, you are number one to your pet. To them, there is no greater human being on this planet. Perhaps it may be because you feed them on a daily basis, but isn’t it nice to think of a living thing loving you that much?

Pets will never be too busy to hang out; they will never rather see someone else. They will never have other plans, and they will never exclude you. They will always be there when you are happy and want to share great news, or if you had a bad day and just need to lay in bed and vent. How many people do you know like that? What better valentine could there be?

"My dog runs to greet me the second I walk in the door and my cat cuddles with me at night," Tara Cirincione, senior television major explained. "Pets differ from humans in terms of love because even if I don’t give them my full attention, they still give me attention and love me just as much, especially if I don’t see them for weeks at a time while I’m at school."

"My cat is very independent and usually stays in a couple of spots. If I go in a room and call her name her ears will perk up and she’ll get up and purr," Gabriella Gerber, sophomore marine and environmental policy major commented.

Whether your pet comes running for you at the door or waits for you to get settled, they always provide their full attention. With that attention comes moral support. Reclining on my couch, I’m engulfed in my homework. It’s not long before I hear a rumbling motorboat purring at my side. Of course we can’t converse, but knowing that my cat is suffering with me while I type a paper, most definitely passes for a romantic gesture.

"Pet love is unconditional. They are great listeners and don’t tell me what to do," said Hope Sonner, a sophomore math major.

But what else can pets really do for us that humans can’t? According to an article by Time.com, called "7 Ways Pets Improve Your Health," pets can help lower cholesterol, relieve stress, reduce blood pressure, boost your fitness, and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Chris Hirschler, professor of health studies, said, "Companion animal’s help people cope with stressors, provide love and affection, and can also improve their social dimension of health, as animals are often magnets for attention."

Hirschler and his wife adopted their cat Darwin about three years ago from the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MCSPCA). Darwin enjoys racing along the beach with Hirschler, motivating to one another to keep active. Sandy paws and an ocean breeze, now that’s what I call a date.

"He has brought us an immense amount of joy and laughter. He has improved the quality of our lives; it’s clear he has helped us to deal with the challenges that life presents," Hirschler added. So not only are furry friends a nice sidekick to have, they also are good for your health. I’m not sure the same can be said for humans.

Of course romantics exist who enjoy celebrating their love for another person. If you have a significant other, your Valentine’s Day might include pink teddy bears, not necessarily your real pet.

"Personally, I don’t think my cat could replace my valentine. I usually spend Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend and don’t even think about my cat’s feelings," Gerber added.

But for those who think you need a person to celebrate in cupid’s corner, think again. If you own a pet, recognize that our canine and feline friends have similar, if not better, qualities than most of our crushes. "Pets won’t eat all your chocolate and they are always down to cuddle, Sonner added.

PHOTO TAKEN by Olivia Caruso

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