The connection between owners and their furry friends

Senior Maurice Sutton’s pit bull, Symba Jamm, is more than just a family member; he’s his best friend. Photo Submitted by Maurice Sutton

For centuries, pop culture has shown emotional bonds between pets and their owners. Movies like “Marley and Me,” “Firehouse Dog” and “The Secret Life of Pets” all illustrate strong relationships between pets and their owners. 

This narrative applies to movie references and real life. According to a Mental Health America survey, 74% of pet owners saw mental health improvements from pet ownership.

Senior Maurice Sutton’s pit bull, Symba Jamm, is more than just a family member; he’s his best friend. 

Sutton got Symba Jamm when he was only seven weeks old. Despite pit bulls’ violent reputations, Sutton describes Symba Jamm as a nonviolent, calm dog. 

He wanted a dog for protection, security and companionship and gained all three from Symba Jamm. The dog has encouraged Sutton to try new things.

“The thing I admire the most about Symba Jamm is his sense of protection and his personality,” he said. “He has even gotten me comfortable enough to the point where I am exercising more.”

Sutton cherishes his moments with Symba Jamm. He describes them as memories that will last a lifetime. 

“The long walks we share together on the Beltline help me relax and ease my mind,” he said. “We share a room together, and he keeps me company while I get my homework and other things done without distracting me.” 

Sutton thinks owners have to dedicate time and research about their pets to have a healthy relationship. 

He thinks it is important for potential owners to make sure their lifestyle is compatible with the type of pet they plan to get. Emotional connections with pets can come from different animals than dogs and cats.

Sophomore Emma Boulware owns mice and feels her pets have helped her understand happiness. 

Boulware wanted mice ever since she was a kid. Two years ago, she added three to her family: Penny, Johnnie and Cherry. 

Boulware enjoys her mice’s quirky personalities and their cute little feet. She thinks that owning mice has impacted her in unimaginable ways. 

“They have brought joy to not only me but to everyone they meet,” she said. “When I’m holding one of my mice, I feel really calm and focused.”

Although the bond brings Boulware joy, owning mice requires patience.

She said that mice need more attention than other animals. Boulware has a message for potential mouse owners.

“Be very patient with your mice,” she said. “Patience is very valuable during the first weeks because they are still learning to get comfortable with you.”

Both Boulware and Sutton noticed positive changes once their pets entered their lives. Owners and their pets build an emotional connection based on security, companionship, protection and happiness.