This content is written by Dr. Lindsay Lane, partner at Rocky Gorge Animal Hospital.
Adding a new member to the family isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. There are a lot of things to consider; what to get, how old it should be, where to get it from, and the care that pet will need for the rest of its life! Yes, I’m here to not necessarily burst your bubble on the dream of getting your next pet, but more so to help prepare you for the REALITY of getting your new pet. After all, love isn’t the only thing they will need to keep them around as long as we can!
With the holidays right around the corner, keep in mind that while a cute puppy or kitten is an amazing gift idea, it is also a 10-15 year commitment! While you consider what type of pet you are looking for, please don’t forget about the numerous cats, dogs, guinea pigs, birds etc. that are currently looking for loving homes just right around the corner at your local animal shelter or rescue group! There are great breeders out there with great dogs for sale. In no way do I want to diminish their dedication to providing homes with quality dogs, especially the breeders who constantly work to improve a breed standard and educate other owners about doing the same! But this post is for those animals who for whatever reason it didn’t work out in a particular home, someone was too hasty to get a pet without doing appropriate research on the breed, or they lost their family altogether! This post is for them, so they are not forgotten. So, when you finally decide on WHAT to get, consider taking a browse online to see what’s available for adoption and start there! Then go see them if possible or research the age that would be the most appropriate for your family.
When everyone was home for the pandemic, puppies went “flying off the shelves”! But if now your family is constantly on the move, and hardly home, a puppy really isn’t a great idea. They need work! Instead consider maybe an adult or even senior dog or cat who just needs some time to adjust to your family before becoming that perfect member of the family.
Finally let’s talk necessities. Yes, there are bowls, leashes, toys, crates etc. But I am talking about vet visits, vaccines, preventatives, medications, supplements, possible surgeries, boarding, grooming, training, and more! I also have one important word for you: INSURANCE. Get insurance! These days, getting insurance early on can really protect your pet when they need it most and help you care for this member of the family in the best possible way without having to decide between the cost for their care and your car insurance bill. I’ve heard it too many times, and sometimes a heartbreaking decision comes down to money. It breaks my heart every time. So please prepare yourself, your family, and your pets for the happiest, longest, and best cared for life you can provide.
Everyone should have the honor of being loved by the most unconditional friend you’ll ever have. Make it your privilege to care for them, and I hope you find your next best friend at a shelter or rescue near you.