4 Things to Consider Before Getting a Pet This 2015

Image from chandramehendrou.com

Image from chandramehendrou.com

If there’s anything I’ve learned from the four dogs I’ve had over the years, it’s that raising a pet as a child or teenager is a lot easier said than done. If you’re thinking of getting a pet this 2015, make sure to consider these 4 things for the sake of your new dog, cat, goldfish, or any other animal that hopefully isn’t part of an endangered species.

1. Once you decide to get a pet, you’re basically agreeing to raise a child for the next 10-15 years of your life.

Taking care of your pet will entail so much more than just feeding it or giving it water. In addition to providing your pet with its basic needs, you will need to take it for walks, give it toys it actually likes to play with, make sure it has its own social life, and stimulate its mind as it grows from a child to an adult. The moment you welcome your pet into your home, you will be responsible not only for its physical wellbeing, but also for how it turns out psychologically, socially, and mentally! If your idea of taking care of a pet is giving it treats every now and then while leaving it locked up in a cage for more than 80% of the day, then just don’t push through with getting one.

2. Consistency is key.

In keeping with the idea that raising a pet = raising a child, know that you will have to be consistent in taking care of your pet regardless of how tired you are or how you might feel. Especially if you’re the type to be lazy and keep your pet in a cage for most of the day, it wouldn’t be right to just occasionally walk your pet or let it roam around the house for just a few minutes. Your pets aren’t there for you to put on Snapchat and Instagram and ignore once you’re finished. If you really want to raise one, then you’ll have to push through with feeding them, walking them, playing with them, and doing everything else with them every single day unless you contract a fatal disease.

3. Your new pet can easily turn into a burden instead of a blessing if you aren’t willing to be patient and compassionate.

The other day, I was about to take my one-year-old husky named Ice for a walk when his leash snagged and he was able to break free and run all around my village. I eventually caught him and brought him back home, but I had to run around for fifteen minutes (with no break) just to get him! That probably sounds like nothing for most people, but I rarely do any physical activity and so chasing a hyperactive husky puppy wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. But I still persisted because at the end of the day, I knew there would really be nobody else to actually make sure that he got home. So if you do decide to get a dog or any other kind of pet, you’re going to have to do many things like this that make you tired and uncomfortable, no questions asked.

4. As the years go by and you start to feel like you’re too busy growing up, don’t forget that your pet is also growing old.

Over time, you will need to be able to see your pet as an individual and not merely as an object or as an extension of yourself. Although you might be constantly busy with your schoolwork and social life, you’re really the only thing your pet(s) have. Especially if your pet came from a breeder, remember that you’ve taken it away from its parents and siblings and so failing to spend time with it would be the equivalent of letting its life go to waste. Time can go by fast and it can be too late before you realize that you were so caught up in your own life that you forgot about the responsibility you had over another’s. If you’ve had your pet for a few weeks and start to notice that you spend 3 hours ignoring it for every hour that you spend time with it, then by all means just give it up. Wanting to have something cute in the house is no excuse for being negligent of something you’re supposed to be responsible for.

If all this sounds like a lot of work to you, then now may not be the right time for you to get a pet. Or if you already do have pets and happened to notice that you aren’t doing any of these things, then now might be time to think about how much you really want your pets to stay in your life.

A lot of people might dismiss all of these responsibilities and tell you that a dog or cat’s life doesn’t matter because they’re just animals. If this is the kind of reasoning that makes you think it’s acceptable to ignore your pet for most of its life, or get one solely for the sake of your Instagram feed, then just stick to watching dog and cat videos for now. Trust me, it would be a lot better to just wait a few years than to rush into the responsibility of raising a pet and in effect taking its entire life for granted.

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