Keeping a pet can be a wonderful experience for both you and your children. It is important to choose just the right pet for your style of living before you bring one into your home. Before choosing a pet, always fully research the breed or type. The internet is a good place to start, as well as books and internet groups. Ask questions of others, talk to experienced employees in your local pet store, and read read read.
Once you have chosen your pet, remember that anything goes! So be flexible and keep a good sense of humor. Each animal is unique and will come with it’s own set of quirks, challenges and joys. For instance, you may find your new dog has bumps under his fur, and find out he is allergic to chicken. Or your cat may decide her favorite place to sleep is on your brand new white couch. Or your gerbil may be an escape artist, while your snake is looking hungry. Be prepared for anything, and expect much happiness and amusement in return.
When choosing a pet, also be sure to choose a good local veterinarian for your animal. Yes, even gerbils may have to visit the vet! Ask other pet owners you know who they go to and if they like the vet and staff. You will probably find several friends and co-workers that share the same vet – word of mouth is the best reference. You should also be sure you have enough income per year for your animal’s vet visits and medication. Being a pet owner is a large responsibility – never take on an animal if you can’t afford it.
But are these little (and big!) critters worth it? Is it worth picking the trash up off the floor after your dog has an unexpected feast in the kitchen? What about when your cat has unrolled the entire roll of toilet paper? Our answer is YES. All it takes is one look into those sweet brown eyes – one pet of that soft fur (or feathers!) for you to realize, animals are worth every bit of work.