Animals are wonderful companions. They’ll enjoy the good times with you and help you get through the bad. They have a clever way of worming their way into your heart and becoming one of the family. They are for life, not just Christmas.
Before you get your new companion though, it is worth doing some research to make sure you are ready for a pet. It might seem like a lot of work, especially at this time of year, but it will be worth it. Even typing a few questions into Google will tell you a lot if the site is sensible. For example, you may realise that your lifestyle suits a cat rather a dog! The more prepared you are, the easier the first few months will be, and the more likely you are to become life long friends. To start you off on your journey, here’s our handy guide – Friends for LIFE!
L – Lifespan
There is a lot of misinformation online about animal life spans, and many will live longer than you think – did you know well looked after rabbits can live eight to ten years? Before you choose your pet, think about the future and ask yourself a few simple questions, for example:
- Where are you living and how long will you be living there?
- If you move, will you be able to take your pets with you?
- Will you be able to afford this pet today and in the future?
I – Impact
Buying a pet is not the same as buying a toy or clothes. This is a live animal that needs and deserves proper care and, more importantly, attention. They are not a convenience for when you want them. However, that does not mean all animals have the same needs. Some require more food than others; some will grow happier with more affection; some need little space while others almost need a house to themselves.
Are they going to affect your water and electricity bill? Do you live near a vet and can you afford insurance? Is there someone who can look after your pet during the day while you work or while you’re on holiday? Pets are a beautiful reward. However, just like people, they require money, space and effort.
F – Food
We all need to eat, humans and animals alike. Some animals, like hamsters and dogs, have straightforward needs in comparison to others; a local supermarket can provide nearly every food item they require.
Others, such as reptiles and tarantulas, cannot rely on a supermarket. They require different food: live insects or even other animals specifically bred for that purpose. Can you feed a dead rabbit to a snake? Are you willing to give a lizard a wriggling mealworm? If not, then they are not the animal for you!
E – Engagement
Love. That is what everything needs. Your new companion deserves attention and affection, especially in the first few months. Cats can be standoffish; dogs are energetic; gerbils are initially skittish. Toys are always welcome fun for both them and for you. The more time you spend around your pet, the more comfortable they will be around you.
Do you have the time to devote to an animal?
While having a pet is wonderful, you should never buy one on a whim. Take some time to consider: Am I ready for a pet?
Blog by OneKind Planet writer Rachel Fegen.