A List to Consider

Recently our family has begun the serious consideration of adopting a new pet. It has been 3 years since my little kitty Mooch passed away from feline leukemia, and with life finally very stable, we think we're ready for another round of pet ownership. We've looked around at various stores and have filled out our application for The Humane Society of Greater Kansas City. Figuring out what type of pet best fits our current lifestyle is where the weighty thinking is needed.  Some of Our Thoughts...

Positives of Owning a Pet
Our children is where the positives get high marks with all domestic pets, across the list. Children learn a lot of valuable lessons from their pets. They improve in their social skills, non-verbal skills, become more emotionally stable, engaged and attentive, learn how to develop trusting relationships, compassion, loyalty, empathy, responsibility, respect for all creatures - the list goes on.

Dog Ownership
Owning a puppy is just like having a new baby. They need a lot of attention, care, constant exercise, obedience training, grooming and so much more. Most of that list, never changes. They will always need walks daily, attention, vet visits, even when there behavioral skills are well engrained. Depending on the size of the dog, it is a 24/7 commitment for an expected 12 years, on up to 20 years. Even with all of that said, the heavy need for constant attention is matched in our 2 year old boys. If I really and truly feel deep within that I can meet all of the needs of a puppy, I know it would be the absolute perfect choice for our kids.

Cat Ownership
I already know from past experience that a cat, especially with 2 year old twin boys, is much more realistic for our household. They are much more self sufficient and independent. Similar to a dog, they need love and attention, grooming, to be fed, etc...but they are usually able to have food out all day and they free feed, don't need a leash when they go out, can go out by themselves, they potty on their own, they're quiet and generally very naturally clean. Cats are on the top of our list, even though they can tend to be a little fickle - meaning that when they are done playing, they'll hide out on a tall counter where kids can't get to them. They very much value there alone time.

Other Small Fluffy Animals
Here we're talking bunnies, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs - the traditional small fluff's. This is where the work gets super easy. I've considered dabbling into the pet world with one of these easier options. As far as the kids go, they'll still learn responsibility, caring for small things, compassion, empathy - all the important parts of pet ownership with little ones. They need care, love, a cage for when they aren't free playing, little toys and exercise equipment. When it comes to rabbits, if you have a lot of patience they are completely trainable. Although they get high marks in the easier to care for category, they don't engage with people as well as cats, and certainly not as well as dogs.

It's really is a tough decision, not one to be taken by anyone lightly. One of the biggest reasons animals get turned over to shelters, is from the needs of the animal not being able to be met by the owner. Dogs for example - if someone doesn't have the time to give them their daily exercise, take them out for regular bathroom breaks and take the time for obedience training, can become very unruly and not by any fault of the animal itself. Anyone holding "it" all day and being trapped inside would eventually get stir crazy and make a mess. So many important things to think about.

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