LIFESTYLE Relationships  >  Pet Ownership – Not for Everyone but a Joy for Most

Pet Ownership – Not for Everyone but a Joy for Most

Pet Ownership – Not for Everyone but a Joy for Most
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By Mary Cowser

In the morning newspaper, I saw some puppies advertised for sale. I had been searching for a pet for a while and decided to check them out. I was walking up the path to the location where the dogs were for sale when I suddenly found myself surrounded by dogs of all shapes, sizes and colors. Their wagging tails and happy faces put my mind at ease. These were friendly dogs. They gave me the feeling that I had come to the right place.

In their midst, I spotted a tiny ball of fur scampering around and through the legs of the other dogs who loomed high above her. Upon closer inspection, I realized I was seeing a tiny face roughly the size of a quarter peering up at me. She seemed to be telling me that despite her size, she was the one in charge. This tiny baby instantly claimed my heart. Details about her did not matter in the least. I knew she would be going home with me.

She is now four-years-old and her name is Izzy (short for Izabella). She grew to a whopping weight of five pounds and she still thinks she is the one in charge (she is, but don’t tell her). Getting her was one of the best decisions of my life.

According to “The Pets for the Elderly Foundation,” owning a pet can generate remarkable improvements in the physical and mental health of elderly people such as:

  • lowering their blood pressure and pulse rate
  • decreasing depression
  • helping them become more active
  • easing the loss of a loved one
  • helping them fight loneliness
  • helping them take better care of themselves
  • giving them a sense of security

Those of us who love animals will likely agree that these benefits are not limited to the elderly; having a pet has the same effects on most of us.

Individuals from our generation frequently find themselves living alone due to divorce or the passing of a spouse. I have witnessed friends rushing into another relationship too quickly due to loneliness or because it just seemed they were not supposed to be alone.

After remaining divorced for a number of years, I enjoyed living alone; however, there seemed to be something lacking. I needed companionship, but that didn’t mean I needed to hastily jumping into a relationship with the wrong person. Getting a pet was all I required. No offense intended guys.

Make Sure Pet Ownership is Right for You.

I urge anyone who is thinking of becoming a pet owner to consider the pros and cons before making the commitment. Be confident it’s what you want.

From the very beginning, you will want your new pet to have the best health possible; therefore, he or she will require a trip to the vet for a check-up, shots, and spaying or neutering. After that, you have food, toys, treats, bowls, bed, and all the other items you will buy them…and you will. Then every six months, you are back to the vet again for booster shots. Therefore, expensive goes on the con side. You need to make sure you have the means to provide for your pet.

Obviously, you can no longer just pack your suitcase, jump in your car, and head out for a vacation. You must now consider your pet. If he or she is traveling with you, you will need to ensure your hotel allows pets. Many times hotels do allow them, but with an extra charge. Of course, it will necessitate packing all the items your pet requires. Then again, if they are staying behind, you have to either ask a friend to puppy-sit or pay someone to shelter them. Therefore, the loss of spontaneity may be another con.

One convenient alternative is to swap out with someone you know who also has a pet. You care for their pet when they go away and they care for your pet when you go away. Your pet stays with someone that both you and your pet are acquainted with, and it’s free.

Pets require going out at least a couple of times daily for a potty break, exercise, and fresh air, especially if you live in an apartment. Don’t forget about poop scooping afterward…not my favorite task of the day, but it’s an obligation that every dog owner must assume. This is Izzy’s favorite time to socialize with the neighbors and I get some exercise and fresh air as well. This may be a con for some; nevertheless, it’s a duty I enjoy most of the time.

Training your pet creates a more pleasurable experience for both of you. It’s essential that they understand the actions they can and cannot do. Izzy had to learn she was not the one in charge during her walks. Even though she only weighs five pounds, she assumed she could compel me to go in the direction she wanted to go…she is the boss after all. To be honest, we still go in her preferred direction most of the time. She knows everyone in the neighborhood and she must greet them all.

All of these and more are necessities when you own a pet. Even on those days when you don’t feel up to par, they must be cared for just like a child. Even though we may think of these responsibilities as cons, I truly believe that when I feel under the weather, my obligation to get up and care for Izzy helps me to recuperate faster.

The Joy of Owning a Pet

Even with all the responsibilities, pets are still delightful and add so much joy to your life. In my opinion, that outweighs all the unpleasant stuff.

It means having someone who greets you when you arrive home. You have someone who is happy to see you even if you merely walked out for three minutes to check the mail. It seems like an eternity to your pet. It’s having someone who depends on you for his or her care and wellbeing. In return, they are close-by when you are not at your best. They have a way of making you smile even when it’s the last thing you want to do.

You have someone to accompany you everywhere and I do mean everywhere. You must be protected at all times, even in the restroom. When I’m soaking in the tub, Izzy leaves her little toy dog (Bob) there to watch over me. After I get out, she goes back into the restroom to retrieve Bob.

What could be better than someone who lives only to please you and seeks your happiness at all times? What could surpass the unconditional love they willingly and joyfully give you without hesitation?

I have no doubt that my life is happier since Izzy came to live with me. At times, I worry that we love each other too much if that’s conceivable. I strive to nurture her the best I can so we can grow old together.

If you are considering the responsibility of pet ownership, please try to adopt a homeless pet if possible. There are countless animals needing a person to take care of and love. You could be saving the life of an animal as well.

Please do not take the decision to own a pet lightly. Carefully, think through everything that accompanies pet ownership. If you want the responsibility and all it comprises and you possess the love and devotion your pet deserves, then I recommend it highly. It can make a wonderful difference in your life.


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