Robot Pet—Catherine Rasgaitis

It’s no secret that having a pet is fun and rewarding. However, it is also a major commitment. Between feeding, grooming, and training pets, new pet owners often find that these activities cost them more time, energy, and money for which they were not prepared. The tragic result is the increasing number of animal shelters overflowing with abandoned and unwanted pets.

Luckily, recent technological innovations have given rise to “robot pets” which are becoming trendy alternatives for aspiring pet owners. Robot pets are most popular with owners who do not have the time or resources to take care of a real pet. They are especially common with senior citizens and residents of nursing homes who tend to benefit greatly from enhanced mental and emotional well-being.

Having a robot pet has been proven to significantly reduce feelings of depression and loneliness, which is one of the main reasons for having a real pet. In a 2017 clinical study, owning a robot pet was shown to produce the same positive results as having a real pet: these pets help lower stress, anxiety, and blood pressure.

Advanced robot pets can also mimic the movements and noises of the animals they represent, thereby creating the same personal bond and emotional connection that owners have with real pets. Furthermore, many robot pets are programmed to react to specific cues in their environment, rendering them more realistic, natural, and life-like.

For example, the most popular robot pets, generally cats and dogs, are based on real-life breeds. These robot pets have built-in sensors that let them purr or bark when patted or stroked by an owner. Robot pets for children also include features to perform “tricks” like rolling over or shaking hands.

In nursing homes today, robot pets are becoming a vital way to comfort and nurture residents. Many of these robot pets essentially function as therapy dogs. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the use of robot pets with senior citizens is a much safer alternative to prevent the spread of the virus between real animals and the elderly.

In the field of medicine, robot “therapy” pets can help to soothe and relax patients, as well as help Alzheimer’s patients to recall forgotten or missing memories. These therapy pets can also act as a gentle, non-threatening means of introducing the medical staff to traumatized patients.

Whether it be in a hospital or a household, choosing a robot pet will save you time and resources. With a robot pet, owners do not need to pay for food, veterinary visits, or other kinds of expensive care. Similarly, a robot pet does not require any training or behavioral classes because they are already programmed to interact with their owners appropriately. Additionally, robot pets are not susceptible to illness or feelings of loneliness or isolation. Thus, the owner is not required to spend time regularly with their pet or socialize their robot pet with other pets.

In short, robot pets are a great investment for prospective pet owners. They offer an exceptional insight into the revolutionary capabilities of robotics that show us how technology can dramatically transform our day-to-day lives.

So, purchase a robot pet—they’re pawsome!

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