Adding a New pet to your Family?
BECOMING A RESPONSIBLE HUMAN TO OUR ANIMAL COMPANIONS
Adding a pet to the family is a serious, long-term commitment. It’s a decision that needs input from everyone who would be involved in caring for the animal. Who will play with your new pet, feed and walk her/him daily? A pet needs attention and love EVERY DAY, not when it is convenient for you.
Too many people see celebrities carrying their Chihuahuas or other small breeds in their purse or bag. These pets are not an accessory. They are a living creature that deserves the dignity and care we’d want for any of our human loved ones. Often the latest blockbuster movie has everyone running out to purchase “that breed”, but then in a short period of time, the novelty wears off and our shelters become inundated with Chihuahuas, Yellow Labs, Dalmatians, bunnies, Persian cats, potbelly pigs, etc.
There is responsibility in having an animal companion. The very first challenge is: Are you choosing the right breed for your entire family? You have to consider temperament, size, safety and general compatibility with EVERYONE in the home.
Who will bathe your pet? Who will administer the monthly flea repellant? Could someone be allergic to the pet? What is the cost of neutering and spaying? Why is this a good thing to do?
Please think about how much will it cost to feed them.
Where do I buy quality food to feed my pet? Do I know how to read a label on the pet food or treats to make sure they are the best for my animal’s health? Do I honestly know what is in my pet’s food?
NOTE: Premium High quality food reduces your vet costs as they get fewer allergies, diseases and ailments.
How much money will it cost me annually for proper veterinary care? NOTE: Consider the age and any known condition of health at the time you have taken on care for your new pet.. Older pets are often great to get, consider your emotions and how long this pet will be in your life. Do they have any physical conditions that will cost me more at the vet? Senior animals seem to not get as easily adopted…please consider it. They are already mellow and can be less effort to train. Who would look after the animal during my trips and vacations? NOTE: You cannot leave most animals alone without at least partial human daily supervision.
Where to obtain your pet:
Instead of buying a puppy or kitten as a gift, consider looking into and possibly waiting to adopt a pet from a local shelter or breed- specific rescue group. You could give a loved one a “gift certificate” from a local shelter, or a stuffed animal representing a shelter pet. Shelters too often carry the brunt of too many decisions that are made unconsciously resulting in rejected animals being “returned”. They are Not disposable items!
Just say “no!” to buying at the pet stores:
Many pet stores purchase their animals from “puppy mills”: mass-breeding operations so bent on making a profit that they often disregard the physical, social, and emotional well-being of the animals in their facilities. Puppy mill-raised animals can suffer from neglect such as severe physical and emotional ailments, and some may even die.
NOTE: Puppy mills-The only way to put these facilities out of business is to hit them where it hurts: in the wallet. Don’t purchase an animal from a pet store.
SHELTERS ARE THE WAY TO GO ~
So instead of supporting the puppy mills or paying for a breeder to produce a live creature to be born ‘just for you!’… head to your local animal shelter and breed-specific rescue group, which are wonderful places to find a new pet. Nationwide dogs and cats in shelters can be purebred, and there are millions of healthy mixed breed animals currently awaiting good homes. Most of these shelter animals have already been spayed or neutered, and have received all their vaccinations and up-to-date veterinary checkups.
No need to be impulsive or uninformed. This is a life; a live being you are taking on, and you want to be the best you can be for your animal companion. Ask yourself: AM I BEING A RESPONSIBLE PET PARENT?
Often, when the owner decides the pet is not that cute anymore, or too much work, or they just weren’t ready for the responsibility, it is often the local shelter that takes in these animals. We need to remember that pets can’t simply be returned or discarded like a broken toy.
Because so many shelters are already filled to capacity, unless other animals are adopted out to make room for the new ones, euthanasia is a possible ending to an already sad tale. It is heartbreaking and unnecessary if we humans all took responsibility in the first place.
Please think it through. Too many wonderful creatures are returned to shelters, as people just don’t realize the responsibility of being a good pet owner and making a lifetime commitment. It will cost you money and time.
There will be bumps in the road like any relationship. Will you willing clean up their vomit? Clean their kitty litter daily? Clean the birdcage? Give a reptile the proper size environment? Is your child kind to small creatures? Do you have the patience to teach them how to be kind and properly care for your new pet?
You must be diligent about teaching your small child proper handling of your new animal companion.
A Personal Tale:
I once rescued a Pomeranian that was 5+ years old. She had been bred for 5 years of her life and “tossed out” after that. That is when I found her at a breed-specific rescue center. Somehow these sweet pets know they are being rescued; she was one of the most appreciative animals I ever had. Well behaved but a little skittish at the beginning. She was kept in a confined area when she was a “breeder” and it took her awhile to get used to her new home where with me she had freedom to move around physically and explore more, and the consistent love and attention was new for her. It took her almost a year to trust the situation and “relax” into her new home.
Give them time…they will figure it out. Rescues make wonderful companions!
All this for exchange of one of the best relationships you will have in your life. You will be rewarded with unconditional love like you have never known.
Be a responsible pet owner, your heart will be filled and you and your pet will be forever grateful to you!
Barbara Tapella http://www.MyPetFirst.com Edited by Joey Brite
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