For animal lovers, it’s impossible to accept the statement that an animal serves no purpose. Your pet is your furry — or feathered — friend and that is as good a purpose as it can get. Admittedly, there are two arguments that refute this idea. First, leading academics claim that the use of the word “pet” is insulting. Indeed, pet is a derogatory term that might affect the way you interact with animals. The word owner has a traditional feel to it and seems to come from a time when people kept animals as an item to use in everyday work or situation. The moral debate also meets an open question that those who are not used to animals, or pets, need to ask, which is: What is a pet good for? While they can understand why in ancient times, families would have kept farm animals as a mean for food and warmth, they fail to find a use to modern species. According to non-animal lovers, everything mankind needs is available in shops. So are people keeping animals for their entertainment only, or as a way to combat loneliness? It would be foolish to think that an animal has no purpose or use in everyday life. In fact, here are nine of the most common purposes that we need animals to fulfil for us.

A companion who heals the soul

Mental health issues are a lot more common than you think. In fact, everyone will experience at least one depressive phase in their lifetime. For many people, every day is a challenge to manage depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. On the one hand, society is blessed with highly qualified, if not extremely expensive, therapists. ON the other hand, anti-depressants and relaxing workouts may not always help. But a companion who is patient, loyal and caring might, as Kathryn Oda discovered. When the feelings of anxiety and depression took over Kathryn for the first time again since she had a puppy, she was surprised to find that her dog immediately came to her and gave her a new strength to go out and affront the world.

A caring support who gets you through hard times

If you haven’t heard of Emotional Support Animals, ESA for short, then you probably haven’t had to deal with severe emotional or psychological disabilities. A support animal provides assistance that is controlled by ESA laws. The animal becomes a temporary or permanent companion to someone who needs emotional support to go through a variety of situations, such as fear of flying or serious anxiety disorders. While ESA are not trained in the way that a guide dog would be, they are chosen for their qualities and their ability to create a bond with the owner. Thanks to a set of laws, a support animal is not perceived as a pet and consequently present an obstacle when looking for an accommodation or boarding a plane. While commonly, dogs are a favorite, some people prefer a duck, a cat, a parrot and even a reptile.  

An athlete in sports events

If you enjoy racing, you may appreciate watching horse races or maybe another kind of competition events. Horses are one of the very few animals that can be entirely bred and trained for their performance. Enthusiastic riders would tell you that every horse feels and behaves differently; so that there’s always a thrill when you ride. For other horse owners, the thrill is not in the speed or the ability of their animal to jump above obstacles, but in its aptitude to perform complex and elegance routines. Dressage is the equestrian equivalent of a dance class. Contrary to the common belief, a dressage horse is not designed to perform in a circus only. Dressage horses enjoy the show too, and they develop their intelligence and knowledge as you train them.

A provider of your daily nutrients

If you live in the countryside and you want to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle, you could choose to reduce your grocery shopping to focus on producing some on of your main nutrients. Growing your own vegetables is one thing. How about getting your own milk? A dairy goat is a perfect addition to your household, and you can use the fresh milk to make your dairy products such as cheese, butter, yogurt, and of course milk! A dairy cow would also provide the same product advantages. However, for newcomers to the self-sufficient universe, cows are a lot more challenging and demanding. Saanens goats are Swiss goats that can produce a high amount of milk, for example. Or you might prefer an easier breed, such as the Nigerian dwarf, which is great for children.

The furry police helper

When you think of service animals, it’s impossible not to think of police dogs. What you may not know if that there are also police cats who can be equally effective in fighting crime, even though they sleep 16 hours a day. Troop Cat Ed was recruited by the Australian Police Force to get rid of pest problems in the stables where they keep their horses. Ed has since proven to be a highly qualified recruit. Against all expectations, Ed not only gets the job done in a record time every day but also continues to enjoy his daily naps.

The productivity boost at work

While entrepreneurs continue to look for ways to improve their team’s productivity in the workplace, a Japanese company has found the best solution to boost morale and decrease destructive stress. Ferray Corporation, an Internet solution business, has adopted nine cats that live full time in their office. The result? Employees love their new co-workers, and the internal communication has increased greatly since the furry workers have moved in. Teams have become better coordinated to tackle everyday projects.

A guide through the dark

Everybody knows about guide dogs. But you might not have heard about guide horses. Miniature horses have been assisting the blind and visually impaired in the US and are now coming to the UK. Trained just like guide dogs, the mini horses can even give you a hand to push a slice of bread into the toaster!

A little nurse for your health

Some animals can be trained to assist their owners in difficult medical situations. Once again, you may be thinking of trained dogs. While dogs can provide help, they are not the only ones. Daniel Greene suffers from epilepsy and relies on the help of Redrock, a fully trained animal to detect increases in his blood pressure up to three minutes before a seizure. Redrock is a boa constrictor. It took only a month to train the boa to recognize the announcing signs of a seizure and warn Daniel.

A helpful hand for your everyday needs

For people with mobility impairments as a result of a medical condition or an accident, life can be challenging. From picking up an object to switching the light, simple tasks become impossible. That’s precisely where a trained animal can provide the required assistance. Dogs? Yes, of course. But what about capuchin monkeys? Ned, for instance, was left quadriplegic after a car crash in 2006. His service monkey, Kasey, has been on his side for over 10 years, helping him to improve and to adjust.

Animals, as you can see, serve many purposes. They can bring the companionship that you need in your life. But with the appropriate training and temperament, they can help those in need to deal with difficult emotional or physical challenges.