SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently tweeted about his new pet “Floki”. Musk, who often tweets about the cryptocurrency ‘Dogecoin’, posted a picture of his new Shiba Inu puppy dog seemingly asleep on the ground. His caption to post read, “Floki has arrived”. The image went instantly viral.
Closer home, even as rumours are rife of trouble in paradise for actress Samantha Akkineni, she seems to be finding solace with her pets. Recently, Samantha, who already has a 2-year-old pit bull Hash, introduced her fans to her new pet, Saasha.
The truth is, several celebrities prefer to hide details of their personal life from their social media spaces. But if there’s one thing they don’t try to hide there is their love for their pets. Celebs openly gush and shower their love for their pets; some even have their pets social media handles with a huge following. And it’s not only Samantha or Tesla’s CEO Musk, but also several other celebs such as Disha Patani, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Salman Khan and Sidharth Malhotra who have painted their Instagram feeds with great fur… we mean fun.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s first pet is a Chihuahua named Diana, who accompanies Priyanka everywhere, and she is quite a star in her own right (for starters, @diariesofdiana has 164,000 followers). Disha Patani’s pet dogs Bella and Goku have their own Instagram page, to which the actress often shares adorable posts of her moments with them.
Alia Bhatt calls her white Persian cat “Edward” her “muse”. Then there’s Shraddha Kapoor, who can’t have enough of her dog Shyloh, a Lhasa Apso, and calls him her ‘stress-buster’. And Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli adore their Labrador called Dude. Ananya Panday often takes to social media to share a peek of her cute pets, Astro and Fudge.
Love for their four-legged friends is not limited to the actors. Cricketer MS Dhoni’s sprawling Ranchi home is a dog-friendly haven, with four dogs in it, named Sam (Belgian Malinois), Lilly (White Husky), Gabbar (White Husky) and Zoya (Dutch Shepherd).
Actress Shweta Rohira considers her pets her three furry babies. “I’ve three babies — Dollar, Bagheera and Baller — and they are the life at home, pampered by all. Our day starts with them and ends with them. And all three have their different routines and pampering style and are demanding in their own ways but the way they pamper us and the unconditional love that they shower on us is remarkable. They literally wait in the wings,” shares Shweta.
When that pet is your whole life…
Dr Gorav Gupta, Psychologist & Director, Tulasi Healthcare, shares his insights on why people share such a close bond with their pets and love showing them off.
“For many, their pets are like family. They provide unconditional love and are frequently beneficial to people suffering from depression or other mental issues,” he explains. “If a person spends time with an animal they love, one that loves them back, they’ll realise that animals possess intelligence with an ability to communicate.”
Psychologist Anuja Kapur sees a mounting global drift towards owning a pet and making them a part of the family.
“It is because pets bring in comfort; playing with a pet can raise levels of serotonin and dopamine in your body, which can help you calm and reduce stress, anxiety and depression. A pet can keep loneliness at bay and create opportunities for exercise and playfulness, and eventually, this works in perfect harmony for you, helping you remain a healthy human being,” says Anuja who adds that now, more than ever, pets have evolved to such a stage that they comprehend human behaviour and emotions.
The psychologist points out how caring for an animal can help one feel needed, thus taking away the focus from negative issues in life. “Maintaining a social network and making new friends is tough. However, pets, especially dogs, are a great way to spark up a conversation and meet up with like-minded people. Additionally, stroking, hugging or otherwise touching your pet can quickly cool and soothe you when you’re tense or anxious,” explains Anuja.
In fact, Anuja also shares that findings suggest that pet owners have a healthier lifestyle, fall sick less often (if sick, they require fewer doctor visits), get more exercise and are less depressed. “Pets not only play a designated therapeutic role but also are valued as companions, which certainly affects the quality of our lives,” she adds. “These are the reasons people like to share their pictures with their pets on social media, sharing their positive vibes with the world, which the world can use some of.”
Moreover, Dr Gorav believes that pet owners are more likely to socialise because they meet their neighbours and connect with a diverse range of people in their community. “Because of the exercise they obtain from their pets, many pet owners have improved their general physical health. Walking with your dog on a daily basis, for instance, is a great way to stay active,” he concludes.
Nuclear families contribute to the increased emotional attachment with the pets. People have low patience these days and hence increased incompatibilities, in such scenarios. Pets have a special place in their life. Rich and wealthy have expensive pets either for their protection or to showcase their wealth. A pet helps them to get de-stressed and in the world where there are arguments, ego clashes… it’s only with their pets they feel wanted, loved without any expectations.
Our lives today are ruled by social media to the extent that every instance in our life is recorded on these platforms. The sense of validation and social assurance it brings helps to boost a sense of accomplishment in us. This is when people keep pets just because their neighbors or friends have them. Social media reaffirms those who keep pets on peer pressure or as a social status symbol. Posting pictures of the pets on social media is all about sharing those little moments of joy and sometimes it's for the need of validation.
— Dr Megha Jain, Clinical Psychologist, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Hyderabad