The greatest gift a parent can give their child besides unconditional love and support is a pet. A furry, four-legged, small, big, slithering, or slimy companion can change someone's life forever. Growing up with pets has absolutely played a role in shaping who I am today. My two cats served as my best friends, trustworthy confidant's, and comforting presences while growing up. Even though I have a sister that is all those things as well, the bond between a child and their pet is inexplainable and irreplaceable.

While we may be blessed to have multiple pets throughout our lives, we comprise the entirety of our pet's life. To them, we are their whole world and all that they know. It is our job to fill their life with nothing but love and happiness so they have only good experiences that turn into memories when they are no longer with us.

Pets truly deserve recognition for their ability to bring us so much joy, love, and pure happiness. They brighten up any gloomy day and can turn your mood around completely. A child benefits from pets in so many ways as the years from being a toddler to child to teenager can bring up obstacles and challenges. Sometimes it's better to have an outlet to confide in without worrying about unwanted opinions or judgement, and that is where a pet makes all the difference. A struggling child always has a friend in their pet which can help them endure difficulties that are a part of growing up in a constantly changing society.

I am forever grateful to my parents for bringing my cats into my life early on, so I had two loyal and loving companions while growing up. Although they are both recently gone, I feel blessed to have had two pets throughout my early life, and I truly understand the deeply rooted effect it played on my life. Our family is not whole without them, but they will always be with us and live on in our hearts through the amazing memories we shared together.

I know that I want my future children to grow up with the privilege of having a pet, reaping all the benefits that I was fortunate enough to gain while learning valuable life lessons. So, thank you to all the pets out there who made innumerable lives better and happier with their mere presence. You're appreciated and loved forever and ever.