Is it a good time to add an animal companion to your life?
The short answer is, yes, if your life is calm and organized right now. Take this quiz, used by permission of the Denver Dumb Friends League, to help you decide if this is the best time to adopt.
Check the following events that have either occurred in your life in the past six months, or that you think may occur in the coming six months:
Divorce or end of a relationship
Change in living arrangements (new roommates or moving in with someone)
Move to a new residence
Pregnancy or new baby
Longer hours or increased responsibility at work
Children leaving home or moving back home
Care-taking responsibilities for elderly or ill family member
Significant changes in family routine
Death of a family member
Death or disappearance of a family pet
Relinquishing of a pet (given away or taking one to an animal shelter)
Significant health problems of a family member
Change in working status of a family member (begins work, changes jobs or retires)
Frequent travel, either for business or pleasure
Limited leisure or free time
Graduation from high school or college
Disagreement among family members about adopting a pet
Add one point for every pet you currently have (one aquarium counts as one pet).
0-3: Your life seems fairly stable. Now is probably a reasonable time to acquire a pet.
4-6: You have a lot of responsibilities right now. Although adopting a pet may still work for you, a small mammal, an adult cat, or well-trained, adult dog would probably be more appropriate than a kitten, a puppy or an active breed of dog.
7-10: Lets think twice about this. With all the changes and responsibilities in your life right now, you may not have time to care for a new pet. It would probably be better for both you and the pet if you wait until your life settles down a bit.
10+: STOP! DONT PASS GO! Acquiring a pet now is not a wise decision. Why not consider a pet rock or a "computer-pet" instead?
This eye-opening quiz takes all kinds of events into account, everything from financial concerns to a new baby. You can check "yes" to a few scenarios and still be in a position to adopt a new pet. But if you check five or six or more, this is probably not a good time to take on the responsibility of providing 15 or more years of care for a companion animal.
Before you begin your search for an animal, make a list of the qualities you expect from a pet. Include the amount of time you can spend with a pet, frequency of your out-of-town travel, the size and location of your house or apartment, and your level of energy.
|Adopting a pet from the Humane Society can be a joyous occasion for the whole family. Phyllis Davis gets a kiss from newly adopted 8-month-old Sadie, as her son, Ethan, extends a welcoming hand.
Hawaiian Humane Society
Do you expect one-on-one amusement from your animal companion, or is socializing with other pet people a priority? Would you like to get outdoors and get more exercise with your new best friend? Will you want this five years from now? Do you want an animal that will play quietly by itself or rely on you? Are you financially able to provide proper health care and food?
When you know the answers to these questions, then visit the Hawaiian Humane Society, even if you think you may get your pet elsewhere. The societys counselors can advise you on the type of pet that best suits your lifestyle, the amount of time required for proper care and tips on training. Then it will be easier to pick a suitable pet.
Here are some pets to consider:
Mice, guinea pigs and domestic rats have earned this nickname because they enjoy being physically close to their humans and dont require much elbowroom. Gentle, inquisitive and very social, these animals make wonderful pets for people with limited living space. Mice and domestic rats also are nocturnal, which means they will sleep peacefully all day while you work and will be ready for playtime when you come home in the evening. They are quiet, easy to feed and clean up after, and require only a cage with toys to entertain them, along with human affection.
Fish are ideal pets in small spaces for busy people. You can watch the fish tank and its inhabitants for a calming effect after a jam-packed day.
Many types of birds are easy to maintain, live 30 years or more, and are wonderful companions. Parakeets, for instance, thrive with only some proper food, fresh water, a clean cage and a daily dose of loving attention from you.
Larger exotic birds like parrots take more care and special feeding and may be very noisy. There are many things to learn about their proper grooming, care and diet.
But birds reward your investment of time by bonding closely with their owners and taking an active interest in everything that happens in their household.
Those that learn to talk are especially entertaining.
Gentle and sometimes shy, rabbits enjoy human interaction but do not require constant attention. Rabbits are quiet, tidy and adjust easily to apartment living. They need a clean cage, a simple diet, plenty of water and some love, not necessarily in that order. Since the skeletal structure of the rabbit is fragile, they are not appropriate pets for families with young children. Some rabbits can be trained to use a litter box and enjoy living with cats and dogs.
Cats have as many personalities as people do: independent and aloof, inquisitive and adventurous, cuddly and loving, or many other combinations.
Because there are so many potential dangers for cats that live outdoors, keeping them as indoor pets maximizes their enjoyment and length of life.
Feline companions can live happily in apartments. Youll need to keep their nails trimmed and provide proper scratching posts, feline diet, water, kitty toys, a clean litter box and a seat in front of a sunny window. Owning one cat is satisfying, but the interaction of two felines is more than twice the fun. Some people think of the time spent grooming their cats as therapy.
Dog breeds and sizes can range from tiny to huge. If you have "quality time" to spare and crave devotion from a pet, then a dog is the animal for you. Most dogs need a yard to run in, plus a human to take them for long walks, an evening jog or a hike in the hills.
Some working couples mistakenly rule out dogs as potential pets because both are away from home during the day. Dogs sleep about 18 hours a day, so regular evening and morning exercise will keep them happy, along with plenty of love and attention.
Dont choose a dog just because you like how it looks; personality and behavior traits are much more important. Read about different breeds to make sure the dogs behavior will mesh with your familys lifestyle. Spend some time at McInerny Dog Park or Bark Park, talk to owners (a notoriously chatty bunch), listen to their joys and frustrations, and meet their dogs.
In deciding between a puppy and an adult dog, remember that puppies demand a great deal of loving care and attention. Puppy people must be prepared for nights of crying, messes in the house, chewing and rambunctious play, all normal for puppies for many months.
Adult dogs have already established their personality traits and size, so you know how theyll look and act. Full-grown canines retain training lessons quicker but need training, nevertheless. They are not as demanding as puppies but become just as devoted to you.
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