ONE OF THE FAMILY: Emerald's Debbie COle loves the company of her pets Atom and Dana.
ONE OF THE FAMILY: Emerald's Debbie COle loves the company of her pets Atom and Dana. Isobel Gibbins

Aussies know the love of a pet

PETS are an important part of local resident Debbie Cole's life and she's not alone. Research shows 63 per cent of Australian households own a pet, proving us to be a nation of pet lovers.

Owner of two cats, Vintage and Dana, and a dog Atom, Debbie believes that owning pets is a responsibility.

“Pets are only as good as their owners,” said Debbie.

“You have to keep up with the training, and it has the potential to go horribly wrong, but not on my watch.”

Knowing when to stop adding to your animal family is part of being a responsible owner, explained Debbie.

“You can have a good heart but if you've got too many animals you end up neglecting them.”

Cost is an important factor to consider when taking on a new pet, with average yearly costs at $746 for a dog and $583 for a cat.

“It's not very expensive,” said Debbie.

“There's the daily feeding, yearly vaccinations and the one-off cost of micro-chipping, but I don't see that as a problem.”

A pet owner all her life, for Debbie, any costs are more than worth it.

“Atom is always happy to see me, and Vinty always comes in for cuddles.”

“The company is awesome. Just as you give them something, they give something back.”

For more information on looking after your pet responsibly, visit the Petcare Information & Advisory Service (PIAS) online at

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