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A New Pet

 

Having an animal as a part of your life can be very rewarding and joyful.  It is important, however, to consider many things before bringing a dog into your home.  Let's look at a few of these things:

- A new pet needs to be wanted by every member of the family.  If not...if only one person does not want the animal...the life of the animal can be saddened or even threatened.  In addition, the family will face strife and frustration from disagreement within the household.  This puts stress on the humans and the animals, often causing sadness, misery, and heartbreak for all.

- Make sure that each family member wants the same pet, including species, breed, size, etc.  RESEARCH breeds prior to bringing one into your life, learning about size, temperament, activity level, health problems, etc.

- *Remember...Puppies are adorable, but they take A LOT of work.  There is potty training, chewing, obedience, potty training, chewing, lots of play time needed, potty training, chewing...this requires a lot of time and patience.  Please do not take in a puppy because it's cute.  In addition, cute, small puppies can grown into large and extra large dogs...take into consideration the size of the puppy, the breed (for instance "GREAT" Dane or "GREAT" Pyrenees), and remember not to forget these things just because it's soft and cuddly or gives sweet kisses.

- Once agreed upon, make sure that you talk over with each family member how this will affect your lifestyle.  Animals require care - 100% care.  This is not always easy, convenient nor pleasant. It requires TIME, ENERGY, EMOTIONAL DEVOTION, PATIENCE, and COMMITMENT TO HARD WORK.  Animals CANNOT be thrown into the back yard, tied up, or ignored and expected to be happy or without behaviors. 

- Animals will NEVER be perfect...just like humans will NEVER be perfect.  There will be misbehaving, potty accidents, misunderstandings, stress, fear, etc.  Don't every think that you will get a pet and not have to deal with issues; know that it makes no difference whether the animal comes from a breeder or a shelter...many shelter dogs came from "breeders."  This is a relationship that will have to be worked on, just like any other relationship.

- Animals are like children - they require attention, money, health care, and need to learn and understand.  You will have to clean up after the animal after a potty accident, a behavior, or playtime.  You will have to have doctor visits that require you to pay for health care.  You have to put out money for food, shelter, toys, etc.  You will have to teach right from wrong, teach obedience, and teach lessons such as "no chewing."  These are to be taught by a kind heart ONLY.  Just like with humans, there is to be NO ABUSE. 

- When you bring an animal into a new environment there is stress and confusion.  Even the best behaved animal will have times of chewing, potty accidents, and fears.  They will need structure and routine. YOU will have to follow structure and routine, as well so that you will both learn more quickly.  This will also require understanding and love to help get the animal through the hard times.

- Animals are not disposable. Please do NOT think that it's okay to "try out an animal" and then dump it at a shelter or pound, on the side of the road, or even into someone else's life if you decide you don't want it.  IT IS ILLEGAL AND MORALLY WRONG TO SHOOT, KILL, OR INJURE AN ANIMAL BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT IT!!  You are responsible for knowing this is a life to be respected.  It is unacceptable to dump our children or family members and suddenly decide we don't want them or to deal with them any longer.  It is unacceptable for animals as well.  Please do not view bringing an animal into your life in this manner.

- Do not make a commitment to an animal if you are going to tire of walking for potty breaks, if you don't want to set aside time to physically and emotionally care for the animal, if you don't want to commit financially to the animal, or if you are not TRULY going to accept that they might be afraid, confused, and show behaviors such as chewing, barking, etc.  Think of the consequences of saying you'll accept this, work with it, yet not doing so when it happens.  It's not fair to make the claim of devotion yet getting rid of the animal b/c it's "too much." 

**It is not always fun, it is frustrating sometimes to care for and tolerate problems in animals, and it can even exhaust you.  This is part of being a parent, be it human or animal.  It is not always perfect and delightful, and can even devastate you.  However, again, this is part of the responsibility you take on when you bring a pet into your home.  It is unkind to give up easily because it's an animal vs. a human. Consider what this teaches your children.

Discuss this with yourself and with your family, weighing out all options, looking at all the pros and cons, and if you decide to take in an animal, please KEEP your commitment.  If you do, you will be REWARDED with a lot of love and happiness, and you will experience a relationship that will provide a lifetime of memories.  It can be a wonderful, wonderful thing...but you have to do your part...you have to love and you have to commit.

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