Congratulations on your interest in sharing your life with another living thing. There are a few things that you should think about before you take those final steps.
Remember, when you choose to own a pet, you are taking on a major responsibility. A pet is a living being with feelings. You are making a commitment to love and care for your new friend. Unlike old toys, if you tire of the responsibility you can’t just cast the animal away. You’ll need to make sure that you find someone who is willing to take on the responsibility for you.
You must think long and hard about keeping a pet. Exercise, food, shelter are just the basics. There are yearly checkups at the vet along with vaccinations and boosters. Dogs and cats should be spayed and neutered. Are you able to care for your pet if it becomes ill? Do you have the time to exercise and train your pet? Do your financial circumstances allow pet ownership?
Unfortunately there are many people that start off with the best intentions only to end up mistreating and neglecting their pets. Be sure that you are willing to give it the love and attention it needs and do think in advance about potential changes in your circumstances. If you are renting, you must consider if you can continue to rent with a landlord accepting of pets. Are you planning on having children in the next few years? If so, please bear in mind that you must have an animal that is comfortable with children. It’s not fair to an animal to be rehomed simply because you haven’t thought through the commitment and responsibility you are undertaking.
There are times however when unavoidable circumstances prevent you from keeping your pet. In this case, there are rescue organizations for every type of pet. If you have a problem, it is not difficult to locate one of these organizations and ask for their help. Please make sure you choose a rescue with a NO KILL policy. This is not always apparent on first inspection and may not be something they admit to you unless you specifically ask. Also please be aware that if you are rehoming an older animal it may be kinder to look for a new home yourself as they can wait a very long time before finding someone to love them again.
It is vital to research all you can about the particular pet you would like to own and always double check any information given by pet shops, even through a constantly edited wiki such as here! It is a common misconception that rodents can live on sawdust for example, or that guinea pigs and rabbits can co-habit safely. In both of these instances your animal could potentially be killed through this misinformation. Once you understand and accept the responsibility of pet ownership, go for it – you’ll will be rewarded by years of joy and unconditional love.
Please consider rehoming a rescue animal or one of the many accidental litters that people end up with due to pet shops mis-sexing animals. These animals need your love as much as any other, and by going through a rescue you are ensuring both that you have additional support if you need it and that you are not funding a pet shop and running the risk of supporting an unethical practice such as puppy mills.
If there are any pets that are not mentioned in this wiki, please start a page for it once you’ve done your research. The community members will try to help you as best to fill in the gaps. Have fun!