1. You learned about responsibility.
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2. You always had a friend when you came home from school.
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3. You appreciated the value of life from an early age
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Forgetting to feed the fish = fish dies.

4. You learned to get over gross bodily functions REALLY fast.
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5. You knew that love comes in all shapes and sizes
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6. No matter who picked on you at school, you knew your pets didn’t judge you for your appearance.
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7. Someone was always around to deal with your childish shenanigans…
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8. … or your teenage heartaches.
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9. You valued the truly important things over the material things.
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At least, that’s what you told yourself when your puppy ripped the head off your favorite stuffed animal.

10. You discovered that actions are more powerful than words.
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Saying, “I love you, kitty!” won’t prevent Fluffy from scratching you if you pull her tail.

11. Your immune system was practically unbeatable.
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All that poop and hair and dirt built up some serious antibodies.

12. You always had the perfect subject to write about in creative essays for school.
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13. You knew what true love was long before you ever dated anyone.
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14. You got to learn all sorts of cool stuff when you went to the vet’s office.
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15. Your activities during free time were very different from other kids’.
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“Sorry, I can’t. I have to go to the barn and clean stalls.”

16. Even when your parents let you stay by yourself, you were never REALLY alone.
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“Just try to break in, burglars. My gerbil will eat you alive.”

17. You knew right away which friendships you’d keep around and which ones would never last.
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“You have a lizard? Ew, gross.” “Hahahaha get out.”

18. But the fact that you had pets meant that more people always wanted to come over to your house.
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19. You were able to get plenty of petsitting jobs before your other friends could even work at Burger King.
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Getting paid to play with the neighbor’s new kitten was the greatest.

20. You acquired some odd talents that the animal-less kids couldn’t even dream of doing.
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21. While other kids were watching bad reality shows, you were learning useful stuff on Animal Planet and The Discovery Channel.
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22. You also had the greatest book collection ever.
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23. And your toys all pretty much had a central theme.
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Barbie was only there to help take care of the animals on the farm, and your policeman action figures were nothing without their K9 unit.

24. Whenever your classmates learned about animals in science class, you suddenly became the teacher’s pet.
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25. You definitely experienced the fun of trying to eat like your pet.
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…Even if your parents swiftly scolded you for it when they caught you.

26. You grew up with a sense of sympathy and compassion for those who couldn’t help themselves.
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27. Your idea of “fun” usually involved being outside.
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Are there ducklings in the video game? No? Not interested.

28. Clothes shopping was easy— you just picked out the shirt that had an animal on it.
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Confession: I bought one Abercrombie shirt in my teenage years, and it was solely because it had a moose on it.

29. Now that you’re an adult, you can really appreciate how being around animals shaped your childhood…
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30. …And so you’ll make SURE that your own kids will grow up with furry, finned, and feathered creatures in their lives.
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