There are two kinds of people in this world: people who love animals, and monsters. If you fall in the former category (we sure hope you do!), you either already have a pet or have considered getting one at some point. I know the feeling--I've wanted a dog ever since I was little and my dreams finally came true...at the age of 23. Why did I delay having my own pet even though I always wanted one? Well, because wanting a pet isn't the same as being able to keep one. A pet is like getting a new family member, and one you're 100% responsible for. So if you're considering bringing home a new cuddly friend, pause for a second and look beyond their cuteness. Ask yourself these 7 questions whether you'll be able to be responsible for an animal that will be completely dependent on you.
Yes, getting a pet can sometimes require the same amount of thought as any other long-term relationship. After all, they're not just a cute plushie toy you picked up at the store, they're going to be in your life for several years. So you need to consider your long term plans--do you plan to move often? Will you be able to take your pet along? Will you be able to dedicate time to your pet throughout its life? Will you change your mind if you have kids? These are just a few of the many things to consider. If your answer to even one of them is no, do not get a pet!
Yes, we know you have unlimited amounts of love that you want to shower on your pet. However, like romantic relationships, love isn't enough when you want to get a pet. You need to be able to afford all of the expenses that come with it. This can include vet visits, food, grooming fee, chew toys, treats, behaviour training, boarding fee and so much more. If you're not 100% sure that you can comfortably afford these expenses, maybe you should delay your decision till your financial situation improves.
Like children, most pets require time and effort. You can't leave them alone for days at end. If you want to get a dog or a cat, you need to make sure you're not leaving them alone for more than four-five hours a day. Even with relatively low-maintenance pets like hamsters, birds, rabbits or chameleons, you will need to feed them daily. Besides being around them, you should be able to spend quality time with them--after all, isn't that the whole point of getting a pet?
There's nothing wrong with taking every day as it comes. However, your life needs to have some basic structure if you want to adopt a pet. They need to be fed, walked, and cared for at specific times every day. If you don't have a fixed daily schedule or have an erratic schedule where you don't know what time you'll come home, then you may not be suited to adopt a pet.
Physical space is a big thing to consider when you're getting a pet. Unless you're getting a very tiny animal, your pet will need a certain amount of space to move about freely. For example, if you live in an apartment, you cannot bring home a big dog. Or if you live in an extremely large house, make sure you have proper fences or boundaries around it so that your animal cannot escape. If you want to keep cats, you need to ensure that all windows and doors are completely shut before you leave. So, make sure you're getting the right kind of pet for the space you currently live in!
This is an extremely important point to consider. While you might love animals, you also need to make sure you're not allergic to the kind of pet you plan to bring home. It will be heartbreaking for you AND your pet if you get one and later need to get it rehomed because of your allergies. The best thing to do in this case is to go to an animal shelter and spend some time with the kind of pet you want to adopt. If you don't develop any irritations for over two weeks, you can bring home your furry friend!
Sure, if you live alone and are completely capable of taking care of an animal, go right ahead and bring them home! But if you live with other people--be it your parents, a partner or flatmates--you need to consult them before you make this decision. After all, they too will be sharing their space with your new furry friend. So make sure that they are 100% on-board with you bringing an animal home. In fact, if they love pets, they might actually be able to help you out from time to time. Isn't that a win-win situation?
If you've managed to answer yes to all of the above questions...congratulations, you can bring home a new furry friend! If not, have patience--you WILL get there someday! Till then, explore options like volunteering at an NGO or fostering pets for short periods of time.
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