…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?
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.
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.