Friday, September 15, 2006

Adopting a Pet

By Brandi M. Seals

Adopting a pet to complete your family is a great idea if you are ready for the added responsibility. A pet is not to be taken for granted. They must be fed, watered and cared for around the clock.

During the holiday season, many well meaning people become determined to give their kids a puppy, kitten, or other pet. Unfortunately some of them do not fully think this decision through and they end up giving the pet away or taking it to the pound. It has become such a problem that many animal shelters refuse to adopt out pets within given time frame near the holidays.

Before you give in and get your kids a pet, take a few things into consideration. Sit down in a family meeting and discuss what kind of pet everyone wants. Do you want a dog but your daughter is desperate to have a cat? Things like this need to be dealt with before a pet is brought home.

Children must be taught how to handle animals. It is unfair to unleash a new pet in a home where children are rough and do not know how to behave around pets. Along those same lines, if your child has never been around a pet, he or she may be fearful of animals. That is definitely something you will want to know before laying down good money for a pet.

To get your child ready for a new pet, consider visiting with friends that have pets. Keep a close eye on how your child behaves. Is she comfortable around the dog? Does she treat it appropriately? Stop any inappropriate behavior immediately but be sure to explain why the behavior is wrong. Sometimes children can be rough and not realize it.

The next step in getting a pet is determining who is going to do what. If you want your child to be involved in the pet's care, be sure to let him or her know in advance. Keep in mind that while children may be well intentioned in volunteering to care for new pets every need, chances are the responsibilities will fall the wayside. When you get the pet keep an eye on things. Make sure the animal is getting enough food, water, and attention. If your child is old enough to play a large role in the pet's upkeep, then do not take over for him or her. Remind them of their responsibilities and check to make sure they are taken care of.

Now you should be prepared to pick out a pet. You should already have a good idea of what you want when you set out looking for the pet. Take your kids with you. Get there opinions. You should be able to find the pet of your dreams at any animal shelter, pet store, or animal breeder.

If you do not care if your new animal is a purebred, please go to an animal shelter to pick out a new pet. There are thousands of animals currently awaiting homes. They range from dogs and cats to horses and turtles. You would be surprised at all the different animals you can find in an animal shelter. You may even find a purebred every once in awhile. Plus, most shelters are willing to keep animal requests on hand and give you a call when an animal fitting your description comes in.

Shelter pets often cost less then their pet store or breeder counterparts and they are definitely in need of a home. Animal shelter pets are typically tested to see how they react around children, other animals, and how they respond to stressful situations. Despite previously being neglected, animals at the shelter are usually very resilient. If they should not be around kids or other pets, it is usually noted for anyone interested in adopting.

Of course, it is fine to get your pet elsewhere. Just be sure to make sure your new pet is up to date on all of its shots and vaccinations. Take it to a vet to make sure it is in good health. And of course, do not forget to purchase all the accessory items it will need, such as a litter box, food and water bowls, and a leash.

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