Learning About Life Through Your Pet

I grew up in a household that included three brothers and two sisters.  From the earliest that I can remember, we had pets.  Usually, we had several!

You name the type of animal and while growing up, the Balzer family had it one time or another.  Dogs, cats, rats, mice, snakes and yep, a squirrel.  I will never forget the day I got off the school bus and came home to a baby squirrel.  We named him Peanuts.

Now, I know this is hard to believe – often when I tell people about Peanuts they figure I am confused with where he lived.  Surely he lived outside, or surely he lived in a cage is what people say.  Nope, Peanuts lived in our house and had the run of it.  Of course, he did have a cage – but most of the time he ran freely and went where he wanted to.  I remember often sitting in the den watching TV and in Peanuts would scamper.  He would jump onto the sofa and then jump onto my shoulder to nap nestled there snug as could be enjoying the warm sunshine coming through the window.  It is hard to imagine it all now but he was treated like any other family pet!

Cathy and Colby

Cathy and Colby

We even had chickens once.  My youngest brother, Tommy was quite persuasive when he wanted something.  (Maybe he should have gone into politics!)  He convinced our mom to get chickens so we could have fresh eggs everyday – I guess he saw this as a great value kind of thing. (Of course, he is also the brother that once charged admission to neighborhood kids and moms to watch him walk the telephone wires!)  I don’t remember getting many eggs but we sure got tons of complaints from the neighbors from their noise!

The chickens didn’t last long…

Life with pets

Randy and Miso

Randy and Miso

Having a family pet livens up your homespace.  I will never forget George.  He was my cousins’, the Purvis family’s pet duck.  My cousins, Shell, Tony and Andy lived at the beach (Sandbridge, VA).  I loved our visits with them and it was great fun to watch George running around.  He was nonstop entertainment!

My Step-grandson, Austin has a pet turtle named “Spike”. For months and months he had begged for a turtle.  His dad, Brent and my daughter, Sammi told him that once he began to show responsibility enough to have one, they would try to get him one.  Austin set about doing anything and everything to prove his responsible side.  That made Sammi start to fret over how they would get a turtle as they aren’t the easiest pets to find.  One day Austin’s dream came true and what joy for me to get to witness it.

Austin and Spike

Austin and Spike

I happened to be visiting them in Charlotte and  Sammi and I took a nature walk on the greenway.  Out of the corner of her eye Sammi spied a baby turtle.  I just happened to have a small box handy in my purse (don’t ask why, my lips are sealed) so Sammi reached into the water and scooped the turtle up.  When Austin got home from school that day he got a surprise!  Since then Spike has gotten bigger and bigger and Austin has been able to learn more about life as he has cared for him each day!

Pets teach life lessons

Without a doubt I believe that having pets in your homespace broadens your education and impacts you in a multitude of ways.  I know it did for my siblings and me. I feel for kids that grow up in homes that don’t have pets.  I think they are missing out on learning valuable life lessons.  Here are a few life lessons I know having pets teach us:

Sonya and Natasha

Sonya and Natasha

  • Pets give you someone to constantly love and nurture.  They never get enough and love in return unconditionally.
  • Having a pet gives you companionship and can make you feel less lonely as you always have someone to talk to, to touch and be touched in return.
  • Pets encourage and create times of laughter in us.  We find humor in playing with them and love watching them for entertainment.
  • Pets teach children about responsibility.  Helping to take care of the family pet is often a child’s first chore and responsibility as part of the family.
  • Pets teach us to love and also how to accept loss.  The loss of a pet is sometimes a child’s first experience with death.  Though extremely difficult, coping skills and the process of grieving are learned.
  • Pets teach young adults how to “parent”.  Young adults and young couples often bond with their pets in a way that plants the seeds for later parenting.  (I believe that it is no coincidence that many pet names these days are what are normally human names such as Maggie, Hazel, Gretchen and Duncan.)
  • Pets often help get us exercising more, particularly dogs.  Pets needing exercise give us a chance to do the same.
  • Pets can lead you to more social contact.  People very often interact with other pet owners through their pets.  How often have you known someone as Moe’s Mom (or whatever the pet’s name is)?
  • Pets relax us and can help reduce stress.
  • Pets become part of our families.

Spread the love



Interacting with animals impacts us all in many positive ways.  I say spread the love in every direction you can with your pet.   Share your pet with others that aren’t fortunate enough to be able to have one.  One way to do this is to visit folks that live in Assisted Living Facilities.  As often as we can we Balzer siblings take our pets to visit our mom at Richfield where she now lives as I discussed in a recent post, Creating Comfort In An Assisted Living Facility.  She loves interacting with them and so do the other residents.  Another way to spread the love is to visit shut-ins with your pet.  More often than not elderly folks and those that are confined to their homes love playing  and visiting with pets.

Pure and simple, pets open our hearts and open our minds with their unconditional love.

Enjoy the love…

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Jamie Balzer

About Jamie Balzer

Jamie has worked in the field of interior decorating for over 10 years and has owned B&A Interiors, LLC for almost as long. Partnered with her daughter, Sammi Blake, Jamie has been honored to work in homes and businesses across the country. Knowledge and experience is but part of what she has to offer. As a young girl, Jamie intuitively understood that the placement of things, the color of things, and the arrangement of things evoke certain feelings. Working together with this knowledge, experience and intuition Jamie has answered the call to her life’s purpose- teaching the spiritual truth of what she believes- “Everything begins in the home”. As a branch of B&A Interiors, LLC, Living In Perfect Harmony emerged to teach her philosophy. Jamie believes, “if you live peacefully and beautifully at home, you are well, your family is well and that helps to make the world a better place”. Jamie's most passionate role is as a mother and grandmother. Jamie currently lives and works in the Chicago area but also continues her business in Charlotte, NC as both a decorator and a homespace coach. She is certified in Reiki Therapy which she believes broadens her success as a homespace coach. Jamie is available for private consultations, lectures and seminars.

10 thoughts on “Learning About Life Through Your Pet

  1. When Jim and I built our house Tommy ( our brother) gave us chickens as a house warming gift. Odd but true, who gets chickens a as a house warming gift. Jim and Tommy had to build a coup. They made it with 2 sides so we could get goats. Our girls had some much fun with these pets. They walked the goats on a leash and love going and getting the eggs everyday. What fun memories.

    • Mary Ann, I had totally forgotten that Tommy was the one that gave you the chickens. He also gave Mom her basset, Sam. Tommy really loves animals and what a joy to know he has wanted others to enjoy them as well. By the way, didn’t his chicken coop get featured in a design magazine once? As for Bonnie and Clyde (your goats), all of us reaped memories from being entertained by them. As I said in a comment on my Fanpage of Facebook, if we humans could love each other with the same level of unconditional love we have for our pets, what a wonderful world this would be. My mission is to spread the desire to “love with abandon” (much like we love our pets) through my blog and teachings. If I can implore just one person to love more freely, WOW – the dominos have a chance to continue to fall and the love will spread…

  2. Great post Aunt Jamie! I love the picture of Colby and I! After my carwreck my Freshman year of high school I was told I should never ride a horse again, due to the chance that I might get thrown or fall off and have another concussion. Well, about two years later Mom decided to buy me a horse because I was very lonely, depressed, and missed riding and interacting with horses. He has been the biggest influence in my life! He forced me to get good grades in school so I could keep him, he has taught me time management so I can spend time with him and still get everything else done that I need to, and has taught me money management through paying board, vet bills, etc. He is always there to give kisses, come when he hears my voice, and even knicker when he sees me. It is amazing to have such a great bond with an animal and still be able to “use” him in getting exercise through riding him. Along with all of my other pets, there is never a day that I regret the time, commitment, or money involved in having him and the unconditional love and support I receive from him and my other animals is priceless!

    • Cathy, I am so glad you enjoyed this post. I am amazed at the comments I get on my posts and what family, friends and now my reader friends say. I am always just as humbled by what I learn from the comments just as I am learning from yours. When I decided to use blogging as a forum for spreading my philosophy, “Everything begins in the home” , I never knew how many wonderful benefits I would reap from it. One of them is getting to know things about family, friends and readers that I never knew. You put into beautiful words the special bond you have with Colby. I am so glad he has been here for you in the journey since your car wreck. I believe that it is from painful experiences that we are given the best opportunities for personal and spiritual growth- your car wreck clearly did this for you. Colby was a part of it all. Yes, Colby and all your pets have given you endless joy and unconditional love. Pay it forward to all you encounter every single day. Period.

  3. What a great reminder that “Family” does not always have to mean Human Family. Now that both of the kids are older I feel they too need to learn responsibility, so each morning they take turns feeding Lucy before we leave for school. I do have to prompt them sometimes and when they complain I then remind them that I fed them breakfast and now Lucy is hungry too.

    We honestly love our Lucy so very much, she has never failed to greet us with a snort and wagging knub of a tail.

    • Kudos to you Crystal (and Craig) for instilling a sense of family responsibility in your kids. In my book, kids should be part of the family “team” and help out as much as is age appropriate. And, how can you not love Lucy?!? What a character! You point out what is absolutely positively pure love on her part. She never shows you a bad attitude as all she needs is love. Don’t we all?

  4. Hi Jamie: Enjoyed reading about all the pets. I have a granddaughter who can’t have the basic pets due to allergies so we adopted various fish, newts, turtles, frogs and asst bugs (crickets and caterpillars). We enjoyed learning about each one and how to care for them also. It was also fun hunting for them and yes they all had names. The frogs had lots of babies and probably were the funnest through their life cycles.
    Joy Stark

    • Joy, thanks for taking the time to comment on my post. Your granddaughter is a perfect example of having pets that are not the usual dogs and cats. Fish provide a real outlet for peaceful moments for those that watch them. Their graceful movements have a calming influence on the observer. Your comment about having frogs for pets reminds me of my youngest son, Jimmy. Years ago while living in Columbia, SC he fell in love with frogs and keep several as pets in the in- ground water main of our front yard. Many a summer night Jimmy would bring all the frogs out for neighborhood entertainment. He would line them up for a race and of all things, they complied with his plan and raced each other over and over again. It was amazing to watch both Jimmy and the frogs – they had a communication between each other that you had to see to believe. He loved frogs so much that one day he decided to take one in his room with him while he napped. (I didn’t realize this!) Just for “safe keeping” he put the frog on his headboard and pressed it in to stay- never realizing what he was doing. I was stunned and Jimmy was devastated that his dear frog met such an untimely demise. This was Jimmy’s first experience with death. It was definitely a teaching moment for him but, it was a really sad one. Not long after that, Jimmy began a love of interacting with fish in nature – starting with carefully catching tiny minnows with his bare hands from the water gullies at the beach with total concentration. To this day his greatest joy is to be out by the streams fly fishing!

  5. Loved this entry…I am the one with the duck…ha!
    I have never lived a day without a pet of some kind.
    They are essential to my life.
    I so enjoy your posts, Jamie.
    Love you!

    • Shell, I am so glad you enjoyed this! I can still see George running around in your backyard at the beach. He was quite the character! As for pets being essential to your life, I count you as one of the lucky one’s that realizes what pets do for us all. Animals in general give us a real connection to nature. Check out the video on my FB Fanpage for livinginperfectharmony about the elephants. What an inspiring story! Love to you as well!!!

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