The Mindful Survey: The Mindful Pet?

Answers from our reader survey on pets.

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What’s the hardest thing about having a pet?

  • “That they don’t live as long as we do.”
  • “When you cannot understand what they want or need.”
  • “Them pooping in the house.”
  • “Not knowing what they are thinking.”
  • “They miss you.”
  • “Leaving them to go to work.”
  • “That they have a great life and billions of other beings don’t.”
  • “The barking when someone is at the door!”
  • “Not tripping over them.”
  • “Guilt is the hardest thing. When you do have a jam-packed day you feel so guilty that they are home waiting for you.”
  • “Cleaning the litter box.”
  • “The vet bills.”

How many pets do you have?

graph: how many pets do you have?

Do you ever talk to your pets casually?

98% of mindful readers talk to their pets, 2% do not

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

32% of respondents prefer canine companions, while our feline friends take 17% of the vote. 50% can’t pick a side, saying cats and dogs are wonderful in their own ways. Fewer than 1% just aren’t into either species.

What’s your favorite pet name?

Our top picks:

  • Romulus
  • Tater Tot
  • Bert and Ernie
  • Spearmint
  • Bozlee
  • Miso and Tofu
  • Merlin
  • Snickers
  • Boomerang
  • Sirius

How would you describe your relationship with your pets?

  • “Symbiotic.”
  • “Unconditional.”
  • “Obsessive.”
  • “Family.”
  • “Fun, loving, and caring.”
  • “Respectful and loving.”
  • “One way, LOL: I have a cat.”
  • “They’re my TRIBE.”
  • “Gentle, kind, and in the moment.”
  • “Fellow sentient beings. Respectful of our differences. Mindful and loving in our relationships. I try to treat them as the species they are and not as humans.”
  • “Maternal.”
  • “Complicated.”

Did you grow up with pets?

82% of mindful readers grew up with pets, 18% did not

How do your pets encourage you to be mindful?

  • “They encourage me to be still with them, to sit in silence, and concentrate on touch.”
  • “When I get home I give my undivided attention to them. Yes, I see you, and yes, I still love you and missed you too!”
  • “Petting him I’m reminded to pay attention and be WITH him as I pet him. And feed him.”
  • “When I wake up to let them out in the morning my dogs stretch their bodies, they then walk outside where I observe them first just looking around taking in their environment. They do their business and then just sit. Looking. Observing. When the wind blows by, they lean into it. They smell it and then just sit. Then begin again.”
  • “Their short lifespans remind me to savor every moment.”
  • “They cause me to develop patience as they tear my house apart!”
  • “My cat reminds me to be mindful when I see him watching a dust mote and staring off into space. What is he occupying his mind with?”

Can pets be mindful?

  • “Cats live in the moment. They know how to pause, observe, respond. They soak up the sunshine.”
  • “I think they are in the moment when engaging in many activities. They don’t worry. At least if they are well cared for.”

What values or feelings do your pet(s) inspire in you?

  • “Generosity of spirit.”
  • “Unconditional love.”
  • “Respect for all animals.”
  • “Independence.”
  • “Loyalty.”
  • “Letting go.”
  • “Caring and patience.”
  • “Kindness and humility.”
  • “Compassion.”
  • “Companionship.”
  • “Relaxation is important.”
  • “Playfulness.”
This article appeared in the December 2017 issue of Mindful magazine.