Parenting: Picking a family pet
March 15, 2011 (WPVI) -- One of my family's favorite home videos is of my then-one year old daughter, Emma, bonding with our lab mix Kiwi over a Halloween lollipopIt's true, some of our most special memories are with our four-legged family members. But adding a pet to your home takes requires careful consideration.
"They are not merchandise, these are lifetime companions. We want to make sure you are ready for that responsibility because our animals deserve that responsibility and love," says Justina Calgiano, of the Delaware County SPCA.
She suggests all family members be involved in researching potential pets. Take time to investigate how a new animal will fit in to your lifestyle.
Puppies and kittens are cute, but they require a lot of attention and can be excitable around young children. Young, active dogs need lots of exercise: if you don't have time for that, an older dog or cat could be a better fit.
Once you decide on your new family addition, you should allow the animal plenty of time to slowly adjust from living in a shelter to its new forever home.
"It's a scary to be in a shelter for a while, with so many animals. So we really recommend that people go slow, especially if they have other animals at home or kids," says Calgiano. "We had an animal returned because it was scared of the stroller and that is just something that the dog didn't experience before."
You also need to consider the costs of a new pet. To make pet ownership financially easier, the Delaware County SPCA has a health clinic that offers low cost pet care as well as some free advice.
"It is great owning an animal," says Kimberly Boudwin, a Delco SPCA Veterinarian, "but you need to remember there are a lot of responsibilities involved with owning an animal."
If you are considering adopting an animal for your family, check out http://www.petfinder.com.
It's a great resource for finding animals available for adoption. We found both our lab mixes, Kiwi and Maddy, from this website. They, along with our cat, Midnight, who found us, are more than just pets. They are truly members of our family.
cecily tynan parenting reports, parenting, cecily tynan
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