Choosing a pet is a decision that should never be taken lightly.
We all remember the ad campaign "A dog is for life, not just for Christmas" I'm sure - and that applies to every kind of pet, from pony to goldfish! Every animal is a living creature and deserves to be properly cared for.
Personally I choose not to have any pets as I'm not the worlds biggest animal lover (I prefer wild animals to the kinds generally kept as pets!) - as a child we went through family pets like most people go through hot dinners! My sister had a real love for them and was forever turning up at home with an animal she'd secretly saved up for, gone to the pet shop and purchased by herself - so despite my Mum not liking animals and not wanting them in the house, the fact that my sister had bought them meant she had no choice but to let her keep them - but they NEVER lasted for very long.
There were dogs that had to be given away because my Mum didn't want them living in the house and it was cruel to keep them living in the shed. There were cats that had to be given away as my Mum couldn't stand it when they brought home dead birds and mice. There were rabbits that ended up being killed by stray cats in our garden because my Dad considered it cruel to keep them cooped up in hutches and had let them loose to "play". There were birds that had escaped out of open windows because Dad considered it cruel to keep them in a cage and so instead let them fly around the living room once a week. There were hamsters that escaped from their balls when my sister had them running around the back garden.
Basically, our family was far from a success story when it came to having family pets and perhaps that will go a little way to explaining why I haven't been left with much of a love for them myself.
But what would I do when Tyne gets older and is asking us for a pet?
Well in all honestly, the first thing I'd do is try to pacify him with a simple goldfish for as long as possible!!!
But after that, I would make sure that we SERIOUSLY weighed up all the pros & cons and took every last little eventuality into account when deciding on the right pet for our family.
Things such as whether or not we could afford the animal - how much food does it need and how expensive is it? What kind of special allowances such as cat flaps etc need to be made for it in our home and are we able to provide them if we're renting?
It's also important to consider how much free time you have to dedicate to a pet. If you're a career family with very little free time and young children who are unable to contribute to the care of the pet, perhaps a dog who needs walking every day isn't the right choice for you - perhaps a rabbit or a guinea pig would be more suitable?
And another thing to think about is how the pet will work with your own family set up - do you have very young babies? If so, how comfortable are you with having a new large dog around them if you can't be certain of the dogs temperament?
There are many, many things to think about. Take a look at this guide from Pet Health Info on the various points to consider: http://www.pethealthinfo.org.uk/whatpet.html
If you're considering getting a new family pet, be sure to weigh up everything before making any decisions. Its only fair!!
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