Joining the world of pet parents is exciting! But, it must be done mindfully. Pets are living beings who rely on you to provide their needs. Good pet parents know that they’re making a major commitment that demands thoughtful planning. It is not a decision to make impulsively or casually. For those who are willing to assume the responsibilities of pet parenthood, The Pet Matchmaker knows you will find the relationship to be among the most rewarding of your life.
Below is a guideline to review when you’re thinking about joining the ranks of pet parents. It’s impossible to prepare for every possible situation, but the more thought you put into your choice, the better you’ll both fare as you navigate the waters of life together.
Click on the plus sign for the things all good pet parents will consider:
The most important consideration for any pet parent is your commitment level. A pet is forever! Yes, it sounds serious. For the animal – it is. Remember, a pet has no means of making decisions or taking care of themselves. Shelters and rescue organizations are overrun with pets who have been given up by people who didn’t make a lifelong commitment. This is the first step in changing that – very simply and honestly ask yourself, “Am I one of the pet parents who is in it for the long run?”
Do You Promise to Keep Your Pet:
- In sickness and in health?
- In good times and in bad?
- ’til death do you part?
If the answer to any of these questions isn’t an enthusiastic, “YES!”reconsider getting a pet.
To discover you’re not ready for a pet doesn’t make you a bad person. In fact, choosing to wait is a sign you understand the seriousness of the commitment you’ll need to make to be one of the good pet parents. Remember, as babies get bigger and adults get older, there are a lot of up’s and down’s – and rolling-overs – along the way! Conscious pet parents know this.
Home truly is where the heart is. There are many homeless people who are amazing pet parents. And plenty of people with lots of money are lousy pet parents. What this means for getting a pet is, What is your day-to-day living environment like?
Questions to consider:
- Do you live in an apartment, house, condo?
- Does where you live allow pets? Are there any restrictions?
- Do you have a yard with a fence or some land?
- What kind of space do you have inside?
- Do you live on a busy road or a quiet cul-de-sac?
- What is the climate like where you live?
- Do you live in the country or the city?
The best pet parents will consider the space in their homes. You’ll need storage space for pet supplies. It’s best for cats and dogs and many other pets to have their own space for resting. Of course, different animals have different needs. Whichever pet you choose, you’ll need to adapt your environment to help make your pet safe and comfortable.
Your family structure is an important part of your pet parents’ puzzles. Remember to count current pets as members of the family.
Possible family considerations include:
- How many people are in the family? What are their ages?
- Does the entire family live together or are there separate homes?
- Does anyone have health issues?
- Is anyone mentally or physically challenged?
- What pets do you have already ? What are their temperaments like?
- Are you ready to introduce a new baby if you’re pregnant?
The answers to these questions will help shape your choice of pet. You want an animal who fits in with the entire family. Once you’ve made your pet decision, you should plan for all situations regarding your pet such as:
- Their care schedule and requirements;
- Who will handle what duties and when;
- What to do in case of emergencies
Knowing these things in advance can help build character in young people. It helps everyone get along better. And it insures your pets’ needs are met.
Think about your personality. Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing who you are as a person will help you develop a realistic picture of life with your potential new pet. Of course people are complex. It’s impossible to predict how we will react in every situation. But basic self- awareness provides valuable insight regarding your pet parenting style and what pet is best for you.
Some Helpful Questions:
- Do you prefer quiet or can you tolerate noise?
- Are you into adventure and excitement?
- Do friends describe you as mellow, easy-going?
- How do you feel about mess?
- Do you need order?
- Are you patient?
- Are you a night owl or a early-riser?
- Do you have a short attention span?
- What is your level of discipline for regular tasks?
Having a realistic idea of how busy your life is makes a difference in deciding whether you’ve got just enough time to be a good pet parent. Some animals require more time and attention than others. And all animals require both time and attention. Good pet parents makes sure they have enough time for their animal companions.
- How many hours do you work?
- Do you travel?
- Do you like to spend your nights out on the town?
- How many soccer games, cheerleading practices, dance classes and sleep-overs are you shuffling between?
Money makes the world go around, and it also pays for things like food and vet bills. How much money you have greatly affects your pet choices. It’s estimated that a dog can cost on average about $1,200 a year; a horse can cost upwards of $12,000 a year. The best pet parents know they’ll need to have funds available for any unplanned medical expenses.
These are a few of the potential pet parent costs you’ll need to plan for:
- Adoption fees
How active are you? Sometimes having a pet who requires more exercise can motivate you to exercise more – but don’t count on it. If you’re a “watch the hamster wheel go round and round type” – don’t think that getting a puppy will change you. The good pet parent chooses a pet compatible with their energy level.
Your overall health and well-being is a key factor. Start simply by asking yourself, “Do I have the energy, mindfulness and memory to be fully responsible for another living being?” You don’t have to be in tip-top shape to have be a pet parent – you don’t even have to be in good shape. You just need to be in the proper shape for the pet you get. Things to think about:
- How quickly do you move these days?
- Do you have allergies?
- How are your moods?
- Do you have someone to care for your pet if your health fails?
Now is the time to think about your pet parents’ “wants” in addition to your “needs.” What are you willing to consider? There are pros and cons to each consideration as different responsibilities emerge. What are your preferences and what are your thresholds? Consider:
- Medical issues
FUTURE GOALS & PLANSAll pet parents need to consider the future.Do you long to live abroad? Do you have your eyes set on the presidency? Whatever your present situation is, if you know that your future plans involve major upheavals, you must picture your pet fitting into them.
BONUS – CHEMISTRYLast but not least comes that ever-illusive intangible thing called “love.” When you look into the eyes of your potential pet, do you swoon with electricity or feel a sweet sense of calm? This is the one area that can’t be explained or outlined. Like any matchmaking, it’s that magical “knowing” when the one is just right for you. If you feel it in your bones that you’ve found “the one” – listen to that. Above all – trust your instincts — even if it means walking away because you’re just not ready to be a pet parent. “True love” sometimes involves “tough love.” What is best for you will be best for your pet and vice versa.
Remember, the name of the game in pet parenting is “Forever.” You can take The Pet Matchmaker’s “My Pet Forever Pledge” here.
If you have any questions or concerns while choosing a pet for your life, take your time and don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance. Shoot me an email and I’ll help if I can!
Elaine Hendrix aka The Pet Matchmaker