With the holidays fast approaching, a lot of people are thinking about getting a pet for their kids for Christmas. Although is maybe enticing to have a puppy or kitten under the Christmas Tree, let me encourage you to think about older pets.
The shelters are over run with pets of all ages, but the ones that get overlooked are beyond the puppy/kitten years. Older pets can sometimes be a better option! Most of the times they are housebroken, eager to please and some of them have come from homes that were bustling with children. Puppies require time and patience, housebreaking, chewing, and other wonderful things that puppies like to do. Some puppies take to housebreaking easily, others do not. Which is why often times usually 3 months after Christmas the shelters are flooded with puppies because the new-ness has worn off.
Finding the right pet for you is always a challenge. Before choosing a pet, consider your lifestyle. Ask yourself when you see that cute maltese, shih-tzu, yorkie, or poodle pup, am I willing to make time to comb him daily? Will I be able to keep up with a 3-4 week professional grooming schedule? Will I be able to keep up with regular vet care? Will I be able to feed my pet good healthy nutrition? Will I have time to train him or take him to training classes to make him the best companion ever? Am I willing to walking him rain,snow or shine? If your answer is....I don't want to walk a dog! Maybe a better option would be a cat! Not a cat person...it's okay I forgive you! Look at a dog that require less upkeep. Terriers are good pets for the right household. Most terriers big or small are full of fire and have a lot of energy to burn. Don't let the size fool you! A rat-terrier can run from dust to dawn and never seem to run out of steam! Labs are a favorite choice for some households, they are a full sized dog that usually have a really great personality! Short hair dogs require regular grooming as well to control the shedding, but they are less demanding on grooming care than a coated dog. Having a pet is like having another child in the house, and most dogs have the intelligence and temperment of a 3 year old, and cats.....well they allow us to live with them! =D. So if you were wondering why the kids or grands-kids get along so well with the dog it's probably because they have a sibling connection.
When I was growing up, I remember being assigned a specific duty with the pets like making sure the water bowl was full until I old enough to begin walking( or being drug by our German Shepherd). For me that took time and as a kid I wasn't up to the task of full care of our pets, but I was really good at the smaller assignments as are most kids. Know your kids limitations, if you give them too much responsibility they can become overwhelmed which could mean disaster for everyone. Always supervisor kids and pets at play, just to make sure that one or the other does not get too rough. NEVER let your kids groom your pet. This can be very dangerous. Kids don't know any better and as a Salon Manager we would get pets in that were severely matted from a child trying to bathe the dog, to rubber-bands embedded to the skin to the point of infection and amputation. I have seen more than my share of shih-tzus that have had one ear amputated because the kids tried to place a bow on the it's hair and wrapped the rubber band around the ear leather. I remember one poodle in particular that had been scalded with the hot water, because the kids tried to give him a bath in the tub. His skin never recovered and he was bald over 70% of his body.
If you are looking a specific breed, try searching for a rescue group that only deals with the breed you are looking for! It's a great idea to do your homework on the type of pet you want first. The internet is a wonderful tool, arm yourself with knowledge or someone will sucker punch if you don't know better. Pet stores will get you caught up in the cuteness of a pup that is usually from a puppy mill, often times sick and then pick your wallet clean! As a Salon Manager I have seen people walk in with a dog that they have paid from $500.00 up to $2500.00 and the dog was not at all what they were told it was.
If you decide to get an older pet, read their story or ask about it! You may find that some of them lost their home when their parents lost theirs, or their parent passed away. An older pet may surprise you, my Scruffy Dog came to me when he was 14years old. He fit into my family like he had always been here. He was housebroken, had his own favorite TV shows, and enjoyed laying on his pillow by the floor vent. When the mood struck him he would play hard for a few minutes, have a drink a water and take a nap! I personally am too busy for a puppy. When my Phat Girl had puppies, I thought I had been committed into an insane asylum! It was like they had been drinking extra bold coffee all day! I loved every one of them, but I never want to do that again! If puppies are your thing...have at it! Just please check the shelters and rescues first! Some dog or cat is waiting for you and your family this holiday season!
If you are considering adoption....Thank you from all the pets waiting for a forever home!
Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!