I have to admit, I am a total marshmallow when it comes to pets. I’ve had a lot of pets over the years, all rescues. Presently I have three dogs and two cats… all of which are geriatric. My oldest dog is between fifteen and seventeen (we aren’t exactly sure of her age), and the youngest is eleven. We’ve had all but the 11-year-old for almost their entire lifetimes. Thankfully, we have the room, ability, time, patience, and finances to care for them and manage their needs. Their health needs are changing now and veterinary costs are increasing dramatically. But regardless, we took these precious creatures on knowing it was a lifetime commitment and were prepared from the start to see things through until their lives end. It’s a package deal. We love them and wouldn’t have it any other way!
So, if you are pondering the idea of getting a pet, there are some things to seriously consider beforehand. Pet ownership is a long-term commitment and requires careful consideration before actually bringing a pet into your home.
Things to Consider When Considering a Pet
Why: Think about your “why.” What are the reasons you’d like to have a pet?
Lifestyle and Finances: Consider your lifestyle and what you can afford. Different breeds of dogs have varied needs. Some are high energy and need an outlet for that. They do best when kept very active or they have a job to do (such as herding sheep). Others are less active and are fine with limited activity. Certain dog breeds require daily and monthly professional grooming. This can get very costly. Then there is basic veterinary care (spaying or neutering, vaccines, routine health care) and the potential of unforeseen costs due to health issues that may arise. Can you afford these things?
Time: Do you have time to attend to a living creature in your home? Or can you afford to have someone come and let your dog outside, walk and feed them, or hire a pet sitter if you have to be gone for several days? Puppies require training which can be time-consuming and requires a lot of patience. Dogs require walks at least two to three times a day and need human interaction (playtime) and attention. Please, if you don’t have time for a pet, don’t get one! It’s unfair to the animal to take it on only to surrender it later because you underestimated certain needs, costs, etc. Instead, you might consider fostering or helping rescues/shelters by spending time with animals that are awaiting adoption (by walking, grooming, or reading to them). Another option is pet sitting—you can set your own schedule, and still get a “pet fix.” If you really want a pet but don’t have a lot of time for them, consider fish or small animals like gerbils, etc., that are easy for others to come in and care for.
Care: Dogs need more of your time and attention than cats, and generally do not like being left alone for long periods of time. There is also potential for noise with dogs. Do you live in a place that will tolerate this? Is there a yard or can you take your dog to a park? If there is a chance you will have to move at some point, are you able to take the pet with you? If you have children, make sure beforehand they are not allergic. If you have a family, are they all on board with getting a pet, and willing to help with its care?
Please do careful research and consider all aspects of your life before choosing to take on a pet. Be brutally honest with yourself regarding the overall commitment. It can save you and a pet a lot of heartache!
Jenny is a Certified Natural Health Consultant for pets and their people, Healing Touch for Animals (Level 2) and NES Bioenergetics Practitioner. Consultations are done over the phone and via email. To contact, call (906) 235-3524 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adapted with permission from the Summer 2019 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2019. All rights reserved.