Questions to ask yourself before you get a pet
Loving someone and committing to someone are two very different things. This is not about the decision to buy a cat or dog or to adopt it. It is about whether one can commit to one.
The internet bombards us with cute videos of cats and dogs. No emotion is better expressed than a pet meme and the most photogenic person in the family pictures invariably seems to be the cat or dog.
We however forget that life is not our vignettes on Instagram. It is what happens in between the pretty shots. The messes, the misunderstandings, the sheer volume of confusion and the cost – time, effort, and money. There are priorities and compulsions. There is a need for space and quiet. The daily grind and grit is life.
Bringing someone in this mix who is completely dependent on you, whose needs can’t be postponed and whose love and exuberance for you can sometimes become a chore is a big decision.
A pet is a baby which never grows up. Ask the parent whose child has fled the coop. Along with the heartbreak comes the relief. Finally, a moment of quiet becomes a possibility. With a pet it’s a perpetual high and then there is a final goodbye. There is no in-between.
The process of getting and looking after a pet is intense. There are myriad questions to answer. What kind of pet, adopt or shop, how many actively involved hours in a day, are there pet services near me, can I spare the time for the dog training, will I make it to all veterinary appointments, do I have the ability of find pet sitters and boarders, who will walk the dog, who will take care of the cat litter, pet grooming services take time. The list goes on and these are just the practical ones.
The emotional questions are tougher still. Do I have it in me to parent a pet, to listen and learn a non-human language, to anticipate an unstated need? Given my family dynamics, will a pet fit in? Forget strangers, neighbours and family might not always welcome my baby. Will I be able to stand firm in its corner? Who will apha dog the cat when everyone wants to just pamper it? Will I bear to be away from my pet, trusting strangers at times when I know I may never fully know what happens when I am away? When I have to put away money for my pets needs today and for tomorrow will I have too many other responsibilities? If something happens to me, who looks after my baby?
Above and beyond, can I have a part of my heart walk outside my body every day and do what’s right by it? Being a pet parent is a commitment like no other. This blog series will take you through what every parent needs to know and argue about pet parenting. Ask yourself these questions and please feel free to comment.