Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Arts Reporter
They are considered man’s best friend, mainly because they are social animals that thrive on attention and affection.
Dogs, therefore, are prime candidates for the personal compassion that comes with friendship.
Men, naturally love that type of attention: being bowed to.
Not to be outdone, women are now following suit in loving and owning pets, particularly dogs, although they are more into cats.
Owning a pet can be beneficial, but there are some which are wild and weird, not to talk about the expense that comes with it.
How many can budget extra for pets as part of the family?
According to internationally acclaimed journalist, Marie Carter, anyone who has ever owned a pet knows they have the capacity for the kind of unconditional love that is otherwise only witnessed between a human and its offspring.
The gentle touch of a wet nose, or a lick on the hand, comes unbidden when we are upset or feeling low.
The bounding dash to the door to greet us is also a demonstrable sign of the strength of the human — canine bond.
However, a subtle change in our demeanour can be picked up and registered by our dogs or cats.
Cats, although fiercely independent by nature, do possess a similar capacity for love and nurture, as my cat-owning friends may testify.
Chiedza Moyo, a veterinarian based in Mount Pleasant, said there are many health benefits of owning a pet.
“I would recommend every home to have one pet at least,” she said.
“The main reason being that they can increase opportunities to exercise, get outside, and socialise.
“You can also improve your regular walking or playing with pets so as to decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. Pets can help manage loneliness and depression by giving us companionship.”
Reigning Miss World Zimbabwe, Belinda Potts, who holds a veterinary and sciences degree, said animals play a crucial role in the lives of humans.
Potts said she deals with the health and well-being of animals.
“Like medical degrees, this encompasses everything from preventative care to psychological analysis and complex surgical procedures,” she said.
Surprisingly, the beauty queen loves cows, and said given a chance she could own one as a pet.
“It might be weird right, but I love cows, and definitely one day I will own one, and will give it a special name,” she said.
Businesswoman Zodwa Mtunzi, who last year reportedly said she owned seven dogs, spends about 50kg of mealie-meal every month to make sure they are well-fed.
Globally, pertinently in the developed world, some even go an extra mile, especially celebrities who find themselves with more money and can afford to spend huge sums on pets.
Award winning actor Nicolas Cage once had an octopus which was valued at a mind-boggling US$150 000.
Perhaps, the most noteworthy part of the story is that Cage claims the octopus and his other exotic pets help him with his acting skills. Really?
Besides being a lover of pigeons, Tyson once owned three Royal Bengal tigers; two females named Kenya and Storm, and a male tiger named Boris.
You might even recognise one of them from a starring role in the 2009 hit movie, “The Hangover”.
The tigers cost him US$4 000 a month just on their upkeep, and sadly, when it turned out Tyson didn’t have a proper license for owning the canines, they were sent to a refugee site in Colorado to live peacefully away from the Hollywood spotlight.