Most parents will, at one time or another be asked by their children if they can have a pet. Or maybe you live alone and would love the companionship of a pet. Did you have a pet when you were growing up and want to recreate those experiences? Whatever the reason, pets are a wonderful addition to almost any household.
But if you are considering bringing home a pet – please consider this. If you “impulse-buy” a new purse you can almost always return it if you decide that it is the wrong size or color. But bringing home a pet to become a member of the family is an entirely different matter.
A pet is a living thing; it bonds with you, and becomes dependent on you. Bringing home a pet should never be a whim of the moment, rather the intent is that the pet you have selected will be for keeps. So consider carefully before you make any decision about a pet.
Selecting your pet should be done over time, and all members of the household should be part of the decision process. Here are some ways to involve everyone in deciding about adding a new pet to the family.
Picking A Pet Step #1: Do Research in Books, Magazines, and the Internet
In order to narrow down the selection process, visit your local library to find out what books or magazines they have on the different kinds of pets. Read the books together. You can pick a nonfiction book which contains all kinds of facts and figures about a prospective pet or a fiction book which tells about someone’s experience with a pet.
You can also read about pets on the Internet or purchase a book that you may want to keep. Ask your kids to draw pictures or tell a story which shows what they would be doing with a favorite pet. Maybe you can find a movie at your library about this pet.
Picking A Pet Step #2: Visit Pet Stores, Breeders, and the Humane Society
A visit to one or more pet stores where you and your children can ask all kinds of questions should be a fun outing. Also visit a chapter of an animal humane society or rescue organization. Find out all you can about a prospective pet.
Picking A Pet Step #3: Talk To People Who Already Own The Pet
It’s important to talk to people who already own the pet you are considering. A lot of people don’t do this step, but wouldn’t you get references before hiring a painter or talk to a car owner before buying a car? Ask them about their experiences with the pet. What do they like best about the pet? What do they like least about the pet? Would they get another one? These are good starting questions.
Now you are ready to pick a pet. This is a great adventure and joyous time for your family. Don’t be in a rush, pick carefully. Keep in mind that a pet is not a purse. You are signing on for the life span of the animal you select. In the case of a goldfish, that might be no more than a year; while some birds can live up to 50 years or more. There should be no surprises if you’ve done your homework.
Enjoy every moment with your new pet, don’t take them for granted. They will give you so much love and joy.