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The current economic recession has collapsed several large financial institutions and has made many markets struggle for the past few years. Despite the fact that many Americans cannot afford many desired luxury items due to the recession, people still invest in items that are more lovable than luxurious. The pet industry has continued to grow despite the current economic slump.

Ellen Warren, the Chicago Tribune senior correspondent wrote an article called For Owners, It’s More Than Puppy Love and stated, “Instead of investing in a human baby (and his college education), we’re getting started with dogs, cats, birds, fish.” According to American Pet Products Association’s (APPA) statistics, $2.21 billion was spent on live animal purchases in the United States this year. This goes to show that Americans are buying pet companions regardless of the economic recession and slump our country is in. The article also states, “the recession might be a blessing for people who make their living from pets. The worse we feel, the more we cherish (and spend on) our animals.” For those who cannot afford children, owning an animal is the next best option. APPA also stated that $18.28 billion has been spent on food for pets, $11.01 billion on supplies/OTC Medicine, $12.79 on Vet Care and $3.45 billion on pet services such as grooming and boarding. The relationship between humans and pet companions is invaluable.

Not only are pet companions for humans, but they also give their owners health benefits. Jeanie Lerche Davis, professional health and medicine write, wrote an article titled 5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health. In the article, she stated, “ Pets help lower blood pressure and lessen anxiety. They boost our immunity… can provide exercise and companionship.” During this stressful time, these health benefits are especially valuable for reviving the nation.

Amongst all of the markets and industries that are struggling, it is surprising the pet purchasing industry is on the rise. Although the times are financially difficult, it does not stop owners continued efforts to provide for their animals.

By: Katharine MacCaskill

Designating dog parks for smaller and larger dogs has become a debatable issue within many communities. Some find the idea brilliant, and others find it absolutely unfair. Kay Robinson-Johnson, a local member of the Fargo District community in North Dakota, recently expressed her disappointment concerning commissioner Barb Johnson’s proposal in an article published on the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. The idea was to build a park in the corner of Island Park, a nearby area in the community of the Fargo District, designated for small dogs. Kay has been taking her large golden retriever Lucy to this park for more than 20 years and was very upset with this idea. In the article Kay states, “What are we suppose to do with our retrievers, labs, shepherds and all larger dogs? … The proposal is unfair because dog park space for only half of our canine friends would be provided.” Although Kay’s argument is valid, the purpose of the proposal is based on canine safety. It is a reality that larger dogs do not play the same way as smaller dogs. Large dogs have the ability to play at any park without the fear of being attacked, whereas small dogs live in that fear every time they enter those dog park gates.

Another aspect to this debate involves the actual owners of dogs. Kay stated, “I also notice that there are dogs everywhere in our park, but the vast majority of them are leashed and led by considerate owners.” Although this may be the case at Island Park it is not in many other parks. Many owners do not respect the parks rules and regulations, which is why dog related occur many times. The issue at hand is that people do not respect the laws and etiquette surrounding dog parks and thus attacks have continued to occur.

The point of the proposal would not be to discriminate against larger dogs but to create a safe environment for small dogs to play in. Separating sizes would only create a better atmosphere for all types and sizes of dogs. It would create safety and save the lives of many small dogs who have gotten attacked in dog parks.

By Katharine MacCaskill