There are few things in life that provide the kind of personal reward of adopting and caring for a family pet. It is hard to explain in a few words what caring for an animal can do to enrich our lives. I am a current pet parent of two dogs and a former of two cats. As someone who has also had fish, rats, lizards, and turtles in my house growing up, I can also tell you that different species of pets have a vast difference in both the time and complexity of care required and the way that pets give back to us to enrich our lives. For those who have not yet gone through the pet adoption process but are considering it, it is worth giving some thought to some things you can do to prepare for this new addition to your family.
Pets make your home more interesting, they keep you company, and give you someone to take care of. They can improve your well-being and can be a source of love and affection. As you might expect, fish or lizards won’t give back to you as a pet owner/parent in the same way that a cat or dog will, but there is still plenty of love you can give to a small animal and as a first-time pet owner, a small animal may be a perfect choice for you.
Things you need to consider when getting a pet include practical things, such as cost, including cost to get the pet, to start them up with the very basics they need, and the cost to look after them on an ongoing basis. It is worth doing some research on this beforehand. Then there’s the ongoing cost of taking care of your pet. This includes veterinary check-ups and care and maintaining their environment (rodents, fish, birds have very specific needs). One of the big factors that can be more difficult to assess is the level of time and care that is required to look after your pet. For small animals, such as rodents, fish and birds, this may be easier. Even cats are fairly consistent from a breed perspective. Dogs have a very large range of differences in care required based on factors such as: breed, lifestages, and energy level. I would highly recommend doing some in-depth research and speaking with dog owners, a breeder, or veterinarian before adopting a dog. Having a mismatch regarding the needs of the pet and our personal lifestyle is one of the biggest reasons the adoption may not work out, which no one wants to happen.
So, take your time before you adopt a pet. Talk to other pet parents, do your research or contribute to discussion boards online to find out more. Adopting a pet is a real commitment, but well worth it.