The Truth About Having Fur Kids or Any Other kinds of Kids
There are many of us who fancy ourselves, animal lovers. We love to see them on TV, we love to visit our friends and play with their animals, and we love the idea of pet parenthood. But the truth is some of us are better aunts and uncles to other people's fur kids than we would be as fur parents. There is no shame in that. Some of us are also better aunts and uncles to human kids too; there is no shame in that.
The idea of having an animal no matter what species it is can sometimes lead to unrealistic fantasies about what that would look like. Here's the thing, animals change our lives. Once you commit to a dog or cat or even an iguana there are new things you have to consider. What do I do with my cat when I what to go on a trip? How often do I need to take my new puppy out for house training and how much time do I need to spend teaching my puppy manners? How do I find someone to take care of my lizard while I am deployed? There are many things to consider BEFORE you bring an animal into your home. Can I really afford to care for this animal? There is no WIC for cats.
As a blogger and animal advocate, I spent a lot of time hearing about all the reasons why people can't keep the animal they just brought home or the one who has been living with them for 10 years. Returning an animal to a shelter is not like returning a dress, or a TV that was delivered broken. When animals are brought to shelters, they aren't just put back on a shelf or sent out for repair, they are labeled with whatever reason you gave for returning them. Puppies and even kittens chew on things. Usually, they find something that is not for them. We are fostering a cat that chewed up every electrical cord in her house. She was bored and hungry. Our rescue dog chewed up a birthday gift only one week after I put it out. it was a hummingbird feeder. You don't know what you are going to get when you have a baby, but you wouldn't keep her for a few months and then drop her at the hospital with a note; "She's not what I wanted. I thought I was having a boy."
Impulse adoptions are never a good idea. And as much as they try to make the animals comfortable and safe, shelters and rescues are stressful places for animals and long-term can cause irreparable damage to a dog or cat's psyche. You would be surprised at how many times I have seen a post for a cat or dog that someone brought home and then found out they are allergic. How about this one? I am moving and I can't take all of my animals with me, so I need to rehome my two-year-old Pitbull mix. He is really great with other dogs and my kids, but we already had three other dogs when we got him, and the place I'm moving to doesn't have a yard. I heard this one today. Well, we had him for about 2 months and we realized we are not dog people.
Some animals need to be only children. Some need the comfort of a brother or sister because they don't like being left alone. Some don't take kindly to having their space invaded by a new dog or cat. Just like we take time to introduce ourselves to people before we move in with them, animals too, need an introduction. Even if you are bringing an animal into your home for the first time, they need time to adjust, time to learn the rules, and time to feel like part of the family.
the best way to know if you are cut out to be a fur, fathered, or scaley kid's parent is to do some research a cat may not fit into your lifestyle but maybe a dog would, or vice versa. Foster! Fostering is a great way to have a pet without a long-term commitment. Just make sure that you are fostering from an organization that will be able to take back the animal if things are not working out or you realize you are allergic. Try out different-sized dogs and dogs of different ages. You might find that a puppy or a kitten is just too much work for you right now but a housebroke 2-year-old is the perfect fit. You might even fall in love with a ten-year-old cat.
If you take your time and think things through, you may find the best pet for you is a pet rock. They don't get sick, they are easy to travel with, they don't shed, and they are quiet.
September fourth is National Pet Rock Day, and all of September is National Responsible dog ownership month.