Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PETS - Anne Box­hall Email abox­hall@big­

ARECENT re­port com­mis­sioned by the An­i­mal Health Al­liance ti­tled

State of the Pet Na­tion said there are 25 mil­lion pets liv­ing in Aus­tralia, or about two mil­lion more than the hu­man pop­u­la­tion.

Sixty- three per cent of house­holds have a pet, with 4.2 mil­lion dogs and 3.3 mil­lion cats grac­ing our lives.

A to­tal of 92 per cent of cats and 76 per cent of dogs live partly or en­tirely in­doors, sup­port­ing the con­cept of pets as part of the fam­ily.

Pets are such a reg­u­lar fea­ture in the land­scape of our lives their benefi ts can eas­ily be taken for granted.

A per­fect ex­am­ple is Coco, a pure black chi­huahua that lives on a yacht with her sea- far­ing fam­ily in North Queens­land.

Guests of all na­tion­al­i­ties are wel­comed aboard on a daily ba­sis for a sail out to the reef.

The pocket- sized princess dis­arms all on board as she in­no­cently en­ter­tains and brings peo­ple to­gether.

Whether proudly herald­ing a dol­phin sight­ing or tak­ing a chance to sit in one of the guests’ on- deck bean bags, Coco’s pres­ence unites her fam­ily and bonds the guest crew in fi ts of re­laxed laugh­ter.

Her pres­ence is un­der­stated, but price­less in the way it fo­cuses and con­nects peo­ple.

The joy of pets is com­pan­ion­ship and con­nec­tion.

Where that bond is strong and re­spon­si­ble, the bounty for in­di­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties is abun­dant.

The An­i­mal Health Al­liance sur­vey found rental prop­erty reg­u­la­tions lim­ited pet own­er­ship, which was not overly sur­pris­ing.

Thirty- fi ve per cent of those sur­veyed who were af­fected by rental prop­erty reg­u­la­tions said they would be pre­pared to pay more for the op­por­tu­nity to have a pet.

Canny land­lords would surely be re­think­ing their po­si­tion.

Out of the non- pet own­ers sur­veyed, about 60 per cent said they would like to get a pet.

Aus­tralians love pets – and for good rea­son.

The more sup­port an­i­mals and their own­ers can get to pre­serve their bond, the greater the re­wards for all.

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