Fall is a time of fresh beginnings, crisp air, and oh-so-many snuggles… and who better to snuggle with than a new furry friend? Adding a new pet into your family is such a rewarding experience and adds so much joy to a home! However, it’s so important to find a pet that fits into your lifestyle, and to think about what you are looking for before you take fido or fluffy home for good! Hopefully this post will give you a few things to think about before you make the leap – after all, the goal is a forever home for you and your pet!
So, you’re looking for a new fur-child to add to your family, think about these steps:
Step 1: Think about your lifestyle. Are you active or more of a couch potato? Do you have children in your family, or are you hoping to have kids in the near future? Do you have other animals in your home? Are you a big traveler? What are your finances like? These are really important things to think about! If you dream of bringing a puppy into your home (yes, they’re adorable), you have to make sure you have the time to commit to it’s training, exercise, potty breaks, and the like! If you work 12 hours a day and are just looking for a chill companion to have waiting for you at home, a senior cat may be the way to go!
Step 2: Keep an open mind! If you’ve always wanted a kitten, but you work long hours, you may have to adjust your expectations about the type of pet you can accommodate into your lifestyle OR be ready to change your life to suit the pet you choose. For example, when I was a senior in college, I desperately wanted a dog. I did loads of research and decided that a middle-aged pup would suit my lifestyle best. However, my heart was stolen by a pathetic little puppy at the local shelter, and I walked out of the building with a 4 month old hound mix. She changed my entire life. However, that’s a bit of a drastic example! Not everyone should be ready to drop everything in their life to care for a puppy – but rather be ready to adjust your expectations based on your lifestyle, and the options you see at the shelter, breeder, pet store, or wherever you’re searching.
Step 3: Take it slow. Anytime you take a new pet home, there will be an adjustment period! They may struggle with potty training, chewing on inappropriate things, scratching furniture, jumping on counters and the like. The pet you meet in a shelter may not be representative of the pet you take home! For example, shelters are stressful environments. A dog or cat’s true personality often doesn’t show until they become comfortable in their new home. So be flexible. Be prepared to tackle some basic training, provide appropriate food and exercise, and take on any medical conditions that arise. Allow your new pet to feel comfortable and support them with praise and positive rewards when they do something right. Expect that they won’t always get things right the first time around, and it will be a learning experience for BOTH of you.
Step 4: Take things in stride. Just like adopting a child, there are absolutely NO guarantees when it comes to a pet’s health or behavior. At some point in the pet’s life, you WILL have to take it to the vet. It WILL cost money. That’s just a fact. If you are unprepared to take on any minor or major behavioral or medical conditions, it may not be the right time for you to bring a pet into your home.
Step 5: Don’t stress! If you taking nothing else away from this post, take this: chill out! You’re doing the best you can and so is your pet. Things may be rocky in the beginning and sometimes it takes a while for you to find your groove. There is no such thing as a bad pet, they are only doing what they know how to do. If you feel frustrated or at your wits end, call a professional! Consult your vet or a positive trainer in your area. Take your time, be patient, and show them love. The rest will follow.
Bringing a new pet into the home can be difficult or easy. It can be a smooth transition or a little bit rocky. This all depends on the pet you choose and how they fit into your lifestyle! Either way, bringing home a new fur-child is one of the most exciting and happy things in the world. So don’t waste a second of it! Take lots of pictures, love them as hard as you can, and just breathe. You are their entire life… make it a good one!