We got our first family pet when my three kids were about 2, 6, and 10. We got a sweet little mutt from our neighbor. Since then, we have acquired another dog, two guinea pigs, and a mouse. We had a hamster, but they don’t live very long. Oh yeah, we can’t forget the fish we’ve had over the years.
Some of the pets were planned, and others were more on a whim. We didn’t plan on getting that first puppy. We talked about it, but we never talked about it with any seriousness. Until my neighbor’s sister couldn’t take care of their brand new puppy. So, Macy came to be our sweet first family pet.
From there, Emma begged for some guinea pigs for her birthday. Then, two years later, she wanted a hamster. This year, a science teacher at our co-op needed to find new homes for some mice so we brought one home. And, we happened to need to stock up on pet supplies on the same day as Pet Smart’s adoption day. So, we came home with another sweet puppy.
Caring for Pets
Think Long and Hard
Think long and hard before purchasing or adopting a pet. Those cute little puppies may not be so cute when you’re trying to potty train them or when they chew your favorite things. Sweet little kittens have very sharp claws and like to jump up on the counters. Rodents are stinky and need their cages cleaned frequently.
Think long term. Don’t act on a whim. You may very well be a pet owner for the next 20 years! Are you prepared for that long-term commitment?
Find the “Right Pet”
It’s important to choose the right pet for your family. If you have small children, it’s best not to get an aggressive dog. If you don’t like high-maintenance, stinky animals, you probably shouldn’t get a guinea pig or a mouse. Beware of cats if you have allergies.
Teach Kids Responsibility
Getting a pet is a great way to teach your kids some responsibility. Even young children can be responsible for feeding and watering pets. As they get a little older, they can learn to walk the dog. They can help clean a hamster cage or toss a ball to the dog in the backyard. They can learn to clean and groom cats and dogs.
Pets are a lot of hard work, but caring for pets is a great way to teach little ones responsibility.