Over the course of our lives, most of us have had our fair share of pets. At times, my house felt like a petting zoo, with dogs cats and birds all crying for my attention. So, while I was completely heartbroken when my last little Chihuahua died, I also felt a weight lift from my shoulders. With my kids building their own lives and no animals to look after, I could finally explore the world.

Now, several years later, I’m not so sure. The more that I have looked into the benefits of owning a pet, the more I think that I might once again take the plunge and bring an animal back into my life.

For starters, according to Psychology Today, pet owners tend to have higher self-esteem, be healthier and experience less loneliness than non-pet owners. In addition, as I have written about before, pets, particularly dogs, provide plenty of opportunities to get out of the house and meet new people. These are all important factors for getting the most from life after 50.

So, the question is, if I do get a pet, what animal should I get? Over the years, I’ve had plenty of both, but, now I’m not sure which direction to go. Should I optimize for the unconditional love that only a dog can provide, while accepting the extra work of 5am walks? Or, should I take the low maintenance approach and get a cute, loving and self-sufficient cat?

I’d love to get your thoughts on this.

Why do you consider yourself a dog or a cat person? What kind of animal would you recommend for someone who is looking to get more from life after 50? Please join the discussion and “like” and share this article to keep the conversation going.

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Here’s a short video that I recorded about owning a car or a dog after 60.

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