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    Your neighbour has the cutest cat in the world, and your best friend has a dog you love who always comes to greet you. You’ve seen the adorable commercials featuring fluffy white Maltese puppies, and you’ve felt your heart explode when you saw a video on the internet showing a chubby kitty try to fit into a shoe box. After all of this, you can’t take it anymore. You’re ready to get a pet.

    However badly you may want a pet now, bringing a cute fluffy friend into your home isn’t an easy affair. You shouldn’t randomly pick the first animal that steals your heart from the animal shelter before considering what pet is the right one for you and your home. Here are some important things to keep in mind when choosing your first pet.

    Curb Your Enthusiasm

    Okay, so you’re really going through with it. Congratulations, you’ve taken a big step in assuming responsibility for another living thing. This means that you have thoroughly weighed not only the pros of owning a pet, but all the possible cons, too. Well, you have… haven’t you?

    Owning a pet can be is a huge responsibility, especially when bringing in a very young pup or kitten. Young animals have a lot in common with babies: they make messes. You’ll have to potty train them, and there will be accidents. Additionally, your pet will do things that might annoy or frustrate you. Some breeds of dogs love to bark at anything that moves. Some cats are born with a passive-aggressive sassy attitude, and there’s no guarantees that your new puppy won’t chew through your favorite pair of shoes. Once you accept that raising a pet won’t be all sunshine and rainbows, you can realistically begin to prepare for their arrival.

    Your Pet Will Have Needs Too

    Before you bring a new animal into your home, your home needs to be prepared to keep your animal sheltered and safe. You should understand that depending on the size and breed of your animal, they may require to have more room to move around. Larger breeds of dogs, for instance, will require you to take them out at least once a day for a vigorous walk to stay happy and healthy.

    Additionally, your pet will need to have a place to sleep and relieve themselves and a container for food and water. You may also need training pads, toys, and stain- and odor-cleaning spray to clean up the inevitable messes on your carpet. Keep in mind that owning a pet can be costly once you factor in purchasing their food and keeping up with their veterinarian bills. Once you have everything ready, you can then let your new furry friend into your home.

    There Will Be an Adjustment Period

    When you finally bring home your pet, you should understand that they might not immediately bond with you. If you choose to adopt a rescue animal, they may be particularly skittish and nervous to be in a new environment. It’ll take some time for them to warm up to you, but as long as you prove that you care for them and are able to provide them with food, water, and love, they’ll soon be curling up next to you just like you’ve always dreamed they would. The more time and care you put into raising your pet, the deeper your bond will be with them. It might not happen overnight, but soon you’ll have a loyal, playful friend that will never leave your side.

    No matter how difficult things may be in the beginning, you’ll soon understand what all the hard work and mild frustration was for. Raising a pet for the first time will be a challenge. There is a lot for you to learn, but the most profound thing you’ll come to realize is how much you can love and care for something. It’s truly a bond like none other.

    Photo Credit: Pixabay

    Jessica Brody

    [email protected]

    According to the ASPCA, animal shelters take in 7.6 million dogs and cats each year. Unfortunately, only 2.7 million animals are adopted each year. I’d love to see that number increase.

    I’ve been a pet owner for decades. I know the seemingly infinite joy and love that comes from having a pet. But I also remember how nervous I was when I adopted my first dog.