I am a dog person. As a child, my family had dogs. The original plan was to only have one, but you know that once you start with a single pet, it grows into more. I am happy to report that we never went beyond owning two dogs, but that was because we did a lot of research to determine which breeds and personalities were best for our family. I don’t have a dog now, mainly because I travel a lot, but I am accustomed to browsing the KSL.com classifieds to see what kind of dogs are out there ready to be adopted.
There are multiple key elements involved with responsible pet ownership. My personal experience is with dogs, but I still feel the responsibilities are universal regardless of the animal you decide to adopt. It all begins with research. As cute as that puppy may be in the KSL ad, you need to avoid impulsive decisions when selecting a pet and make sure that you select a pet which is suited to your home and lifestyle. Owning a pet is a commitment for the whole life of the animal, and that includes providing appropriate exercise and mental stimulation while taking the time to socialize and train your pet. If you adopt an animal and don’t take care of it, that is defined as neglect; and in some states, that is a criminal offense.
I have spoken on multiple occasions about investments and finance, and owning a pet is not excluded from those discussions. Not unlike buying a home, pet ownership requires an investment of time and money. Large animals eat a lot of food, and having to buy bulk bags of dog food on a regular basis can quickly add up to a large expense. In addition to the normal day-to-day care, you also need to make sure your pet receives preventive health care (vaccinations, parasite control, etc.), as well as care for any illnesses or injuries. The last thing you want to get from your pet is a case of the mange.
The last consideration to make are the rules associated with pet ownership. Many neighborhoods have local ordinances, including licensing, leash requirements and noise control. No one likes it when the neighbor’s dog escapes and causes havoc by destroying beautifully manicured flowerbeds. It’s even worse when no one knows whose dog is causing the problem. That is easily solved by making sure your pet is properly identified (i.e., tags, microchips, etc.) and keeping its registration up to date. And this goes without saying: clean up after your pet! No one, and I repeat, no one enjoys discovering they have the aftermath of your pet stuck to the bottom of their shoe.
Owning a pet is extremely rewarding but comes with very important responsibilities. I miss having a constant companion to come home to and find snuggled up on the couch. Perhaps one day the world will stop calling me to explore, and I too can join the ranks of pet owners. Until then, I’ll keep looking at all the puppies online.