As this issue already has a large feature about Spring Gardening, preempting my first idea for this article—How To Plant a Garden—we’re going to learn how to pick the right pet. Yes, there is a right and wrong kind of pet for everybody. For example, if you watched Anaconda as a kid, and still use the bed covers 10 years later to make sure your feet are protected from any monster-sized snakes attacking you, a pet snake is probably not right for you. Personally, I believe snakes are only good when dead, so I’m not sure why anyone would think having something that wants to kill you is a good pet. But let’s move on.
Step 1: Evaluate Your Lifestyle
Your lifestyle is a major factor in choosing a pet. Some people shouldn’t even consider owning a pet, which is a huge responsibility for anyone. Yes, that means your favorite childhood pet you played with all the time actually was fed, let outside, and taken to the vet by your parents. If you feel like you’re always busy with one thing or another, you shouldn’t think of owning a pet. It needs a lot of attention, and if you can’t give that to yourself, how do you plan to provide it to a pet?
Step 2: Evaluate Your Home
If you’ve passed the first test, and realize you don’t remember the last time you left your home, then you can keep reading. Though an efficiency apartment is fine for you, it’s not going to work for a large pet. That means a Great Dane is not the right type of pet for you. Different species have varying needs. A small pet like a bird or gerbil can exist in a cage placed where you have room for it. Larger pets, like cats and dogs, require more space to roam around. If you really want that Great Dane, then you need to move somewhere big that has a big yard as well.
Step 3: Pick Your Pet
This doesn’t mean running out to the Animal Humane Society, picking the cutest one you can find, and shanking the first person who thinks he or she is taking it home instead. Based on your time and living restraints, select a pet that will fit into your lifestyle. If you really want a dog, but you’re not sure if you have the right-size home, or time to take care of it, then now just isn’t the time in your life to get a pet. Try knitting instead. I hear that works well for…well, I hear it works. You—and only you—are responsible for the animal’s well-being, so be responsible if you plan to care for another living creature.
Step 4: Pet-Proof Your Home
Unless you pick a pet that is always in a cage, you need to pet-proof you home. Animals, like babies, will find a way to destroy everything you own if you don’t pay attention to them—especially young dogs. They need attention and exercise. If you fail to provide either, they will amuse themselves by ripping your shoes into a million pieces, and look cute while doing so. Make sure things of value are placed out of reach. Never ever leave your young pet unattended. Its super pet senses let your youngster know you aren’t watching, so it plans wicked schemes to ruin everything you own in record-breaking time, and hide the evidence. If this seems like something you don’t want to deal with, think of acquiring a slightly older pet that already will have outgrown its cute, evil ways.
Step 5: Find Your Pet
Now, it’s time for you to race around town, considering every cute animal you can get your greedy little hands on. Actually, you have no reason to go and get a pet immediately. Take your time finding the right animal for you. If you don’t see one you like right away, keep looking. Nothing is worse than picking a pet you actually don’t want. Let’s be honest: If you don’t like an animal, how likely is it that you’re going to care if you forget to feed it? The Animal Humane Society is a great resource for finding a pet. Even if it doesn’t let you adopt the species of pet you’re seeking, it will be able to point you in the right direction.
Step 6: Care for Your Pet
It’s that responsibility thing I mentioned earlier. You need not only the time and energy to care for your pet, but also the money. Some pets cost more than others. Crates, food, toys, vet visits—and, if you wish to have your pets hate you, pet clothing…the list can go on for a while. Know that younger pets cost more in vet bills, so plan for it if you go for the cute factor.
Step 7: Gloat
Now that you have the most awesome pet the world has seen, it’s time to show it off to all your friends and family on Facebook.
For more info on the Animal Humane Society, visit www.animalhumanesociety.org.