So here’s the thing: We probably could fill every issue of Mankato Magazine with reader-submitted pet photos. Why? Because people are just really in love with their pets.

And pets are sort of having a moment now. With everyone sheltering in place and social distancing, our dogs and cats are seeing more of their owners than they ever have. And how are they reacting? They’re loving it. And they’ll keep loving it for as long as this insanity continues.

This is the beauty of pets. This is why so many people treat them like children. Our pets don’t get tired of us. They don’t get bored with us. They don’t resent us for not spending enough time with them, they just appreciate the time we give. In fact, all they really want is for us to be with them. Sure, they love long walks by the beach and copious amounts of table scraps. Some of them love to fetch. Some of them live for playing tug or rolling over and playing dead for treats. But when you get right down to the essence of it all, the animal loves — more than anything — the mere fact that you’re there for them.

So in this issue of Mankato Magazine, we’re very much here … for them. And for you, the pet owner. We know you adore them, we know they mean the world to you, and we know how much it will mean to you to see your cat, dog, fish, lizard or whatever pet you have in print. 

We figured when we put the word out about the pet issue that we’d get a lot of submissions. But even we were surprised how quickly and continuously the submissions came in. We actually got more people to submit for this than we do for our annual photo issue. And that’s saying something, because readers love that photo issue. (I actually get emails throughout the year from people wondering when they can submit photos for it.)

But this is different. All of these images come wrapped in a blanket of love. For every image sent in, we know there’s a special relationship behind it that means so much to both pet and owner. Maybe we’ll make this an annual thing, too. Who knows.

Beyond the photos, we’ve got great pet-related stories for you this month. Our main story digs into the psychology of why we love our pets so much. Here’s what we found out: Science confirms that pets are good for the soul.

We’re also introducing you to a pair of K9 units from southern Minnesota. These are the dogs that, when situations get scary, get called in to take care of business. They sniff out drugs, track suspects and are one of the best and most obedient public relations tools a law enforcement agency can have. You’re going to love Zeus and Jett.

And on the question of whether or not you should let your pet sleep in your bed, contributing writer Renee Berg helps weigh the pros and cons with a few local veterinarians.

So as you can see, we’ve got TONS of great pet content in this issue.

And if you’re looking for some unusual COVID-19 content, check out our Community Draws comic by Kat Baumann. Her quarantine-themed submission this month will have you giggling … and thinking.

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