Even for those who don’t have primary care responsibilities, it’s still a huge responsibility for the entire family. Especially when you consider that, depending on the type of pet you select, it can be with you for up to ten and even 20 years. And that’s what you initially need to focus on, especially during the pet selection process, because that’s where emotions usually reign supreme. And if you’ve ever taken your kids to a petting zoo before – let alone a per store – you know exactly what we mean.
Ultimately, it comes down to this: pets are far easier to love and play with than take care of. And that’s really important to keep in mind while you go through the process of deciding whether or not yours can be a pet-friendly household. Here are a few specifics to help you along:
- Are you and your child comfortable around animals? Some adults and many children find they are not.
- Do you have adequate room for a pet – both indoors and out? Keep in mind pets – especially dogs – don’t stay tiny forever. They will eventually occupy and require more space, perhaps even their own.
- Do we have adequate time for a pet? (This is a big one!) All pets require time and attention. In your heart of hearts, it’s vitally important to be fair to your pet, and to yourself. Answer honestly, “Can we as a family devote the necessary time a pet deserves?”
- Can we afford a pet? If you don’t think pets are like family members, wait until you see how much it can cost to keep one, especially when you factor in vet care. Do the math before casting your final vote.
- Is everyone committed to the responsibility? It may not take a village to raise a pet, but typically it takes more than one devoted care giver. So don’t wait until you have the pet before asking for volunteers for specific responsibilities – ideally, that should be decided well in advance.
When all is said and done, raising a pet truly is a labor of love. Just keep in mind that there’s plenty of both to be expected – labor AND love – and that one is no good without the other.