Dying to buy a ferret? Really want to cuddle with a gerbil? Want to tame the baby raccoon you found abandoned in a nearby field?
But, wait!!! Give it some thought before you dive right in and go out and buy something not suitable. It can save you a lot of pain, angst, $$, and trips to the ER! Choosing the BEST and RIGHT pet for you and your family is extremely important.
Let me take you back to several months ago and tell you about how I learned the hard way. In a dreamy, breezy, step on a pop top, pina colada moment, I decided that I just had to bring home the Blue Front Amazon Parrot named Rocky that was offered to me by a friend. Yeah, free, with all accessories included. Soooo, I let it sink in for a few days, thought about just how cool, romantic and original it would be, and oh-so African Queen-like. Plus, I didn’t know anyone who owned a parrot, or really anything quite that exotic for that matter. Added to the fact that this parrot was famous, he had been in multiple commercials, and, yes, you might even recognize him.
Here’s the downside which I surely did not want to address at the time: this guy was thirty years old. Now, I want you to think about this for a moment, since, according to birds.about.com, Blue Front Amazons can live up to 80 years. I would have to prepare a trust fund for this guy! Being in his third decade, Rocky was set in his ways and owned by the same woman for almost his entire life span. Parrots get VERY attached to their people, especially after long-term ownership and companionship. This should have put on the brakes for me, but I plunged ahead, bringing Rocky to my home along with his toys, perches, and elaborate menu. His favorite food included chicken bones, grinding them to dust with that powerful beak of his. If you sense foreboding here, you are absolutely right on target! Long story short, after the second parrot attack which rendered my right opposable thumb numb for two months, I decided it was time to send Rocky back, talons and all. He’d only been with me 7 days.
Lesson learned? Well, I certainly needed to be more careful and selective in getting the pet that is just perfect for me and my household.
A few things to consider when thinking about the right pet for you:
Pro: The ASPCA says they’re not called man’s best friend for nothing! Loyal, loving, and want to spend time with the family. If so inclined, they might even pick up your slippers or paper for you.
Why not a dog? If there are young kids in the house, you may consider a more mature dog rather than a puppy. I personally prefer getting a more settled older dog, say maybe 2 or 3 years old, and one that is way past the rambunctious home and yard destruction phase. Preferably a rescue. Some dogs need specific training. Many need lots of attention, exercise, and house training.
According to Barley’s List, cats are very low maintenance. They sleep (cat naps!) on and off for nearly 18 hours a day and can be typically left to their own devices for many hours.
Bad News: Maybe they’re a little too independent for your personality? Do you really want to deal with daily cleaning of a litter box, and sometimes litter tracking throughout the box area?
Great if you have allergies, limited space, and lean towards the exotic. Check out aquasamit.blogspot.comfor some cool ideas on setting up your aquarium.
Believe it or not, they can be litter box trained and will come when called!Rabbit.org says a rabbit can literally die of fright while a predator taunts them from outside. So keep them inside as much as possible. Some of these guys can be demanding about the lettuce and carrots and may bite. Be sure to spay or neuter these guys as they are prolific breeders!
I love chickens and have some of my own! Love the fresh eggs every day and thrill at the sight of a beautiful, extra golden omelet on my breakfast plate! They’re instant pest control agents and you get free fertilizer. The Buff Orpingtons are the Golden Retrievers of the chicken world, and I highly recommend them. The drawbacks of poultry ownership? Be prepared to clean the chicken coop on a regular basis; their poop can get really stinky. They’re also not the best guard pets, either.
Way off the cuteness chart, great for apartments and small spaces, nocturnal creatures, and spend time spinning on its wheel in the wee hours. According topethamster.com, these adorable guys have no detectable odor, are inexpensive to purchase, and subject to very few health issues. Hamsters are also happiest living solo, too.
Whether your new pet is furry, feathered, or finned, please take time to research different pets, and consider how they mesh with your lifestyle.