In this series, we’ve suggested that you as a prospective pet owner ask yourself some hard questions. We wanted you to take off the rose-colored glasses we all wear when we look into the eyes of a dog or a cat and we just melt.
All we can see and feel is the appeal these animals have with their soft fur, their bright eyes, the wagging tails and the contented purrs.
We never see emergency vet visits or expensive medications or carpets that just got a nasty stain.
We see into the future where we’re loved and adored by an animal we’ve saved from a shelter and we vow we’ll never be that person who has to return a dog or a cat because we “just didn’t have time.”
I truly believe anyone can be a successful pet parent - IF, and it’s a BIG IF - they’ve set themselves up to succeed by asking some hard questions.
Who are you?
What do you do?
How do you have fun?
Why do you want a pet?
And, the really important question, what pet is right for you?
A cat will be easier for an owner who travels frequently as cats can be left on their own for a few days as long as they have food, water, and a clean litterbox.
A small breed dog that can be litter pad trained would be great for the person who often has to work late, or who has a longer then 8 hour work day.
A medium breed may be easier to handle for walks and require a bit less exercise than its larger cousin.
A large breed will often work better for the person who likes to be active, with walking, running, biking, hiking and more as activities they enjoy.
A good way to start your search for a pet is to take a look at different breeds and – as counterintuitive as it sounds – find out the BAD things about that breed.
- The Dalmation, for example, the lovable looking spotted dog associate with Disney movies and fire trucks, is a breed that is prone to deafness.
- The Great Dane can get bloat, a life-threatening condition requiring immediate medical care.
- The Dachshund, not surprisingly, can have back problems.
- Even the beloved Golden Retriever can have skin allergies.
While one or none of these possible conditions could be a dealbreaker, it’s good to have an idea of what you’re willing to accept as a level of care and what you’re not.
You’ll want to take some time to look up different dog breeds, the pros AND the cons. Consider where you live, how you live, how much time and energy you can realistically give to that animal, and then make an informed decision.
Do this before you take that trip to an animal shelter where it’s almost certain you will fall in love with something completely adorable.
When you do get to the shelter, talk to the more knowledgeable staff members and get their honest opinions.
Are they saying a certain dog would be better with an owner who lives alone, with no children in the house? They have a reason for this.
Temperament tests are performed at shelters by experienced handlers who do this for a reason. They want their shelter pets to succeed.
Adopting a pet is a big BIG decision that will affect the next decade or two of your life. You’re going to want to take a little time, look at your resources, and get the information you need to add the best possible choice of a pet to your home.