so you want to know if you’re ready (part 3)

…to own a pet.

We’re not talking about a little kid’s pleas here: Can we get a puppy?  Please?  Please?  Please please please please, pretty pretty please with sugar on top?  I’ll walk him and feed him and brush him every day.  Nope.  You’re a grown a** adult (or at least in your twenties), and you’re wondering if now’s a good time to search for a furry friend at the local animal shelter.

Let’s take a look at that, shall we?

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So you think you’re ready to own a pet…

**  Check out your kitchen.  Are there dirty dishes piled in the sink?  Overflowing trash cans?  Sticky stuff on the stove from that soup you heated up last week?  I get it, housework sucks.  But if you can’t handle the basics like taking out the trash, how are you going to keep a pet alive?  Think about it.

**  Count how many pairs of underwear you own.  Now count how many have stretched waistbands, shot elastic, or holes other than the ones for legs.  If only 50% of the drawers in your drawers are decent then give serious thought to how vet bills are going to impact your life.

**  Look in your fridge.  Is there expired milk?  Do you have unidentifiable leftovers?  Is it completely empty?  Much like human beings, pets require food, and believe it or not they need it every day.  Forgetting to restock your own food supply leads to takeout…forgetting to buy cat or dog food leads to weird meals cobbled together from whatever’s in the pantry.  Sure, Gracie’s a canine trash compactor, but even she needs real dog food.

**  Look at your schedule and get honest with yourself.  Working 12 hour days?  Don’t get a dog, they will for real pee all over your house.  Working 2 days on, 3 days off?  I guess that limits you to pets that don’t need food for a 48 hour period.  I have no idea what that would be.  You might want to consider a Chia Pet.

**  Are you eating Ramen noodles four times a week?  Or mac ‘n cheese?  I’m not dogging on your diet, although I won’t lie, I am a little worried about your nutritional intake.  It’s just that pets are stupid expensive.  Someone shows up with a box of kittens and suddenly you’re having an Oprah moment – You get a kitten!  And you get a kitten!  Everybody gets a kitten!  No one mentions food, flea/tick prevention, or boarding costs in the Oprah moment.

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So you’re ready for a pet…now let’s talk commitment

**  Do you despise any sort of exposure to the outdoors?  Sunlight, moonlight, hot, cold, breathing, walking, going to get the mail?  If this is your level of “I’m not really an outdoor girl” then consider a Very Indoor Pet, like a gerbil.  Or a hermit crab.

**  Do you have any pet allergies?  This limitation seems like a no brainer, but some of those dogs sitting in shelters were returned because, believe it or not, allergies.  I guess even the cutest awww factor can’t overcome dander issues so seriously, don’t even try.  There are plenty of turtles in need of a home.

**  Buckle down and do a brutal self evaluation to assess your inner neat freak.  Sure, cats are fastidious, but they have no problem hacking up a hairball on your fanciest carpet.  Cats don’t require poop pickups on walks, but they do come with poopy duty for the litter box.  Dogs are a whole different story.  Shedding, slobbering, intelligence, anxiety, trainability, energy levels – they have a myriad of traits that combine to make each dog unique.  There really are no zero maintenance dogs, though, so choosing canines is a matter of degrees.  Lizards, hamsters, fish, and frogs – now those are the pets you want to check out when it comes to easier maintenance.  They’re low maintenance when it comes to interaction, but they live in habitats that need regular cleaning, so it’s a trade off.

**  What’s your energy level?  Not your “sure, doc, I exercise six times a week” answer or those “everything’s coming up roses” weeks either.  Your Real Life, honest to God, average energy level on the daily.  Are you a Jack Russell, a sloth, or somewhere in between?  Make your life simple and pick a pet that’s compatible.


Wondering what else you might be ready for?  Check out parts 1 and 2.

19 thoughts on “so you want to know if you’re ready (part 3)

  1. You tell it like it is, Laura. I like the way you put everything into real perspective that people can understand (Not willing to buy new underwear? Yep, think twice about pet expenses). Even those of us who understand exactly what we’re getting into can be surprised down the road. I never expected to have to buy prescription dog food, but the alternative was a dog who couldn’t control her pooping in the house due to being allergic to what we were feeding her. Poor thing. Wasn’t her fault, and we love her anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’ve been surprised by a couple of dogs whose needs changed when they got older. You just don’t think about middled aged or elderly dogs when they come home all bouncy and puppyish.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love my dog, but as I get older, my lifestyle is probably better suited to cat. Especially since my dog doesn’t seem much inclined to go out and walkabout by herself – before we got her, she had a brother to go on walks with, after we got her, she had our Bailey. Now that Bailey is gone, she’ll check the yard perimeter occasionally, but much prefers if I go with her. So now I’m working on pushing myself to do more walking, for the sake of both of us. You are so right – they require care, time, and $. But, you are also right in that the love makes up for so much of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Money I’ve spent on cats has been considerably, I mean, really lots less than that of my dogs, and my dogs didn’t even have issues!
    Also, we have some nurse friends whose dogs stay with the neighbor Monday all day. Monday is the only day neither of them are home. They used to go to doggy daycare, but neighbor’s got a better deal, fewer germs, and no commute.
    Take out isn’t good for us, and it’s not good for doggo.
    Sassy tells me she’ll have dogs, but I tell ya, they’ll never go out and they’ll dehydrate 😉
    I am an anxious person with an anxious dog, and we calm one another. She’s such a good girl ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve found that dogs are considerably more expensive, although I’m not entirely sure that’s their fault. Take dog sweaters, for instance. The dog doesn’t tell humans to buy one, and yet we do. Try pulling that sh*t on a cat and they’ll claw your eyes out.
      Dog care with the neighbors is a terrific idea…

      Like

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