Let’s say there’s someone who really loves animals, someone who genuinely cares for animals and would find it a privilege to be able to own a pet. But due to some reason is unable to fulfill this wish of theirs. Financial constraints, lack of space, unavailability of time to devote to them or incompatibility with the other members of the household. Sometimes, one’s profession is such, that it demands constant travel. This translates to inability to take proper care of the pet. In cases like these, there is a need for establishments that cater to such people. A place where one can go and live the life they have always dreamed of.
The concept of petting zoos first came into the picture when the London zoo started a children’s zoo with domesticated animals and trained wild animals, which they could play with, touch, pet and even feed. With time this idea grew and spread to other cities around the world. There are places that are still reluctant to accept the idea of opening up their zoos for human contact. The apprehension could be due to the investment that it requires in terms of capital and staff. While at the same time, some might say that there’s a certain risk factor involved for people and animals alike. One cannot expect every person to be genuinely caring towards the animals. Certain people including children find it amusing to try and harm or pester the poor creatures. Similarly, some time an animal might be particularly unpredictable.
But zoos, where this experiment has been successful, vouch for the increased acceptance and popularity of animals as an integral part of one’s well being, compared to where one could only view them from beyond safety enclosures. It is also an effective source of revenue generation as well as increased employment opportunities amongst professionals trained in handling animals. The importance of affinity towards animals was propagated through such an experience. Awareness towards how they should be treated was also generated. Hands on experiences are useful in making professions to do with animals, an evidently viable career option too. It also helped to change the thought amongst people that one must stay away from animals. One needs to be careful but not scared of them. As a result people got an opportunity to experience bonds with animals. One could explore the love that any animal feels for someone who treats it right, whether they are pet, domestic or even wild, in most cases.
The animals that are usually considered for petting zoos are well trained. Domestic animals such as cows and goats are often used. Some wild animals that are harmless are also present. Alpacas, llamas, monkeys, pythons and even kangaroos are often found to be some of the popular choices. Guinea pigs, turtles, birds, miniature donkeys, rabbits and ponies are especially loved by young children. The zoos provide the patrons with relevant food, to ensure the health and well being of the animals is not compromised, and at the same time it is convenient for them. Food often fed to them includes hay, grass or crackers based on the animal in question. This is an exception to the general rule of not feeding zoo animals.
Animal lovers will tell you that the mere petting of an animal can successfully help you release the stress and tension of regular day-to-day life. Even watching them go about their business at leisure soothes the nerves. A genuinely happy animal can transmit similar feelings into those around it. Their lovable and adorable nature makes one feel special in an instant. Scientific studies have proven the benefits of constant interaction and contact with animals. Kids benefit especially from pet animals, and since one may not be able to own one, having a place where they can experience the joys of being a pet owner, even for a short time, can help make the child less aggressive, sharper and a better human being.
While there are innumerable benefits of contact with animals, one needs to be aware if they are allergic to any particular animal. Some people might be prone to allergic reactions to animals such as cats, or animal hair. If so, one must avoid any contact with them, at the risk of fatalities. Apart from that, there is also the risk of transmitting diseases to and from the animals. Hence, it is critical to properly cleanse yourselves before and after coming in contact with them.
Along the lines of petting zoos, cat cafes are now popular in some eastern countries especially Japan. These cafes allow people to interact with cats exclusively at nominal charges. The physiological and psychological benefits of petting cats are well documented, especially among the elderly. The purring sound that they emanate while being petted is deemed to be comforting for most people. Their unassuming, no-fuss temperament is highly appreciated by cat lovers. There is an increasing need of establishments along such lines considering the kind of lifestyle that is becoming common lately. A place where one can rejuvenate among silent, loving, non-judgmental creatures that help you relax without asking for anything in return.