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Animal Companions

Cats, dogs, birds, fish, and more. Pets are a wonderful part of our lives. They provide comfort, happiness, and friendship. Many of us have pets and consider them part of our family. Although our lifespans are much longer, we form a special bond with mutual benefit for both us and our pets. You may have rescued your pet from a local shelter or took in a stray. However your pet came into your life, you formed a special connection that only comes from this type of friendship.

There are countless websites and other blogs dedicated to our animal friends that tout the benefits of sharing your home with a pet. Here's just a few blessings we receive when we open our hearts and homes to these loving critters:

Responsibility: owning a pet, especially in a home with children can teach your 'younglings' responsibility and to care for something other than themselves. That may sound harsh but in reality it is a very good thing to learn as young as possible. In a world overflowing with self-indulgence, instant-gratification, and the need to keep our faces buried in an electronic device instead of engaging with the world around us, compassion and empathy get lost. Having a pet teaches a child to care for something else. Another living being that requires attention, physical and mental health, and, of course, love.

Healthy living: Speaking of physical and mental health, we have scientific proof that "Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure." -NIH website (click here for details) There has been a huge increase in concerns for our overall health and wellbeing in recent years. People everywhere are looking for ways to increase their immunity, extend their lifespan, and find ways to enrich their daily lives. Pets are one of the many options that handle all three of those goals. They can boost our immune systems, and, in some cases, can be trained to assist people with disabilities and ailments or even detect some forms of cancer!

Social Creatures: Humans are social, even if we don't want to admit it. Sure, a cozy blanket, warm cup of coco, a great book, and a quiet place to read sounds like heaven for many people. But eventually we need to leave the hermit cave and interact with the world outside. At the very least for resupply. This might seem comical to the majority of people who are out in the world, busily working, commuting, and interacting with crowds of other people on a daily basis. But for those of us with social anxiety, these daily scenarios are a living nightmare. Pets and assistance animals provide their owners/partners with a miracle of therapeutic support that can help their humans live 'normal lives'.

And speaking of companions... (I know, not the best segue into promoting the book.)

In the Aether star Chronicles (ASC), we are introduced to a different sort of companions, the hippogryphs of the Eldalië. The Eldalië elves are the main inhabitants of the planet Eldamar in the ASC multiverse. Within their society, the elves have formed a special bond with one of the many mythical creatures on Eldamar. Hippogryphs are large animals that resembles part elk and part eagle. These flying creatures have been part of human mythology for generations and come to life within the pages of the ASC's first book, Awakening:

A distant rumble from the east disturbed a flock of brightly colored birds. They swarmed and moved like a dense fog lifting from the canopy, just as a fearsome avian shadow plummeted from the cloud line high above. The massive creature screeched loudly as its giant golden white wings cocked backwards into a swift dive, scattering the frightened group.

Half eagle and half elk, the giant bird of prey snapped its sharp, yellow-gold beak at a few of the slower birds as they squawked their objections to becoming a meal. The armored Elven warrior riding a finely tooled leather saddle on the hippogryph’s back leaned forward, adjusting the thick leather reins to redirect the creature’s attention back to their destination. Like diving into the deep blue ocean, the creature tucked its eagle forelegs back and slipped into the thick canopy followed by a plume of leaves and small branches. Contrary to the creature’s massive size, it easily maneuvered between giant palms and acacia tree trunks as gracefully as an elk on its path towards the ground far below. Pouncing and prancing from one trunk or branch to the next, the hippogryph zigzagged downward before it flared out his wings and landed with a triumphant bellowing screech. The huge creature shook its antlered head, clicked its sharp beak against the silver bridle bit, and cantered through the dense wall of palms and ferns to a concealed garden courtyard beyond.

In the world of the ASC, hippogryphs are one of the many companions to the elves. They work together with the Eldalië to protect their home from invaders. Their ability to travel vast distances helps the elves as they patrol the expansive boarders of the Great Forest and surrounding mountain ranges. Bonded with a rider, these giant creatures provide unique aerial combat skills with steadfast loyalty.

There is no denying pets can provide us with wonderful and engaging lives whether they are just a four-legged family member or a service animal. Be sure to stop by the forum and post a picture of your favorite furry family member today!

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