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I was discussing the importance of the human-animal bond today with my PetPAC colleague, pet photographer Patrick Nau. We noted the current expansion plans for the business Chuck & Don’s Pet Food Outlet, where Nau’s beautiful pet portraits are on display and for whom he does newsletter and advertising photography.

I wondered what might allow Chuck & Don’s to achieve success like this in the midst of the Great Recession, then I answered my own question. Studies have shown that pet-related businesses are one of the few recession-resistant ventures. Many people, myself included, will sacrifice their own comforts to provide for their animal companions. Why is this, when so many of us are losing sleep at night over our climbing levels of debt and dwindling incomes? It’s certainly not “rational.”

What I decided must be a motivating factor is the fact that our companion animals are our “anchors to sanity.” (Patrick really liked that phrase.) With them we find a relationship wherein we get out of it much more than we give, no matter how much we give. What work or interpersonal relationship can consistently boast that? Being around our animals lowers our blood pressure, reduces our stress, makes us feel unconditionally loved and accepted, gives us a sense of being necessary to another living being, etc. Is it any wonder we place such a high value on this relationship?

When the rest of our lives may appear to be spinning out of our control, we know we can still go for a walk with or play fetch with our dog, sit quietly in a rocking chair with our cat, talk to our birds, and so on. We are reminded by our animal companions of the simple pleasures, of the joy to be found in living in the moment. We may not be able just now to shell out money for expensive trips to Cancun, all the latest in techno-gadgetry, or visits to a high-priced psychiatrist to diminish our stress, but as long as we have our dearest four-legged (two-winged, etc.) friends with us, we just may not have as great a need for any of those things. —Sid

My husband, Anthony, with Blanche and Oliver

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I was at the Pet Project’s MN Pet Food Drive to supply local food shelves with food for hungry four-legged family members who are suffering right along with their humans during this recession. One of my co-vendors there was The Dog Perk, creators of fun, unique T-shirts, sweatshirts and other products for dog lovers.

My personal favorite (for which I’ve put in a Christmas gift request with my hubby) is “Dirtiness is next to Dogliness.” Give them a look-see, as well as the pet portraits of Sarah Beth Photography, personalized products of Personalized Pooch—more about these two on my blog’s Pet Loss Memorial Products page—and the touching, profound book, 8 State Hurricane Kate, (below) by Jenny Pavlovic. My thanks to them all for supporting the Pet Food Drive.

I’ll be sure to let you know when I learn how much food was collected at this event.

Here’s what I learned from Lisa at Fetch Delivers, one of the event’s sponsors:

Looks like we just met our goal of 10,000#’s (American Agco gave me 3000+lbs for the event) And over $800 raised and counting, as Fetch will donate some proceeds from the promo we offered to the event goers.

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