It's About Pets
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SELECTING A PET

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Choosing a Pet

An animal companion may be one of the greatest joys in your life. More and more in our society today, people consider pets to be part of the family. Often, it's the family pet who gives you the warmest "welcome home" after your long day of work. Or perhaps in your family, an animal provides companionship for a youngster or elderly family member who is home alone for a period of time everyday. For many of us, phases of our lives are measured by the animals who shared the time with us, for better or worse. Pets have the ability to provide us with unconditional love, and who in this world couldn't use a little unconditional love once in awhile?

There are so many good reasons to have a pet. Pets can be good for your health in many ways. There is evidence that caressing a pet will lower blood pressure and heart rate. We and our children can learn a great deal about responsibility and friendship by caring for a family pet. Sometimes children who are having a hard time connecting to much else in life will forge a powerful bond with an animal, developing better self-esteem and confidence. Likewise, some elderly people rely on their pets to provide them with a sense of purpose in life by having a living creature to care for and nurture. Pets can be engaging, stimulating conversation and creating a bridge for communication where one might not otherwise exist. Just ask a disabled person with a canine companion, for example, how much more people acknowledge and speak to them because of the dog. Yes, pets can be wonderful additions to your life. Most of the time you will find that the more you know about and care for an animal, the more the animal will contribute to your own well-being.

It's important to give some consideration to the responsibilities of pet ownership before you venture into this wonderful and exciting experience. The remainder of this article will give you some things to think about before you choose an animal. Hopefully, when you make your final decision, it will be a good fit. Our office has a wealth of information and we welcome your call to discuss your plans before you get a pet. In addition, some other resources about prospective pets include the local humane society, public library, pet stores, clubs and associations devoted to specific species or breeds of animals, animal shows, and other people who have an animal similar to the one that you are considering. We would be happy to point you in the right direction.

In the meantime, here are some ideas to ponder:

  • How much time do you have to spend with your pet? Also inherent in the question is who will be caring for the animal? Is it to be a shared responsibility? Are the ages and abilities of people involved compatible with the pet's needs? Consider training, exercise, and social needs of the animal. Realize that within a given species, needs will vary from breed to breed.
  • Have you considered the financial costs involved in having a pet? There will be ongoing expenses with any pet you may choose to have, such as nutritional, health care, and daily living needs. These will vary, depending on the animal.
  • Are you aware of this pet's average life span? When you obtain a pet, you make a commitment to that animal to provide lifelong care. Depending on the animal, this time frame varies tremendously.
  • How much space do you have for the animal? Please consider the animal's size at full growth, and consider ways in which to accommodate the changes that will occur.
  • Animals have varied physiologic behaviors, such as shedding, hibernation habits, and sleep-wake patterns, that may influence your choice. Try to choose a pet whose behaviors are compatible with your lifestyle and your expectations.
  • Do you know anyone who has a pet similar to the one you are considering? Such individuals or families may be able to provide you with valuable insight before you make your decision.
  • Please DO NOT get a pet spontaneously or as a surprise gift for someone who has not been planning for one. Such choices often lead to disaster for the animal through no fault of its own.
  • Remember that your local animal shelter is a great place to adopt your new pet. . Log on to www.selectapet.com for information on adoptable pets near you.

All of these ideas will stimulate good thinking and planning before you make your final decision about adding a pet to your life. As you can see, choosing the right pet involves forethought and planning. If you are careful about the choice you make, you can anticipate one of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences you may ever have. Please call our office if you have any questions about getting a pet. Once you have the animal, be sure to bring it in for a check up so we can evaluate it's current condition and discuss initial care.