Many people, including myself, have been in your place: wanting to adopt a pet and make it your new best friend. This is both exciting and nerve-wracking, but if there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s the fact that adopting a dog will only impact your life and well-being in the most positive ways.
For me, it all started with a dog named Charlie
As cheesy as it sounds, my heart was stolen by Charlie when I first met him. Charlie was a Cocker Spaniel/ Poodle mix with huge brown eyes and a crooked smile. The reason why he’s named Charlie, you ask? Well, he loves playing with candy wrappers.
When you come face-to-face with your future best friend, you will discover an infinite number of their quirks to love about them too.
Considerations to take before adopting a pet
Before you drive to the nearest shelter and take a new friend home, it’s imperative to take considerations into account that determine whether or not owning a pet aligns with your current circumstances. Pet ownership is a huge responsibility, and you must commit to it 100% and act with intention of doing so every day. A pet’s quality of life and happiness is solely dependent upon your attitude and efforts towards taking care of them.
Therefore, spend a moment to reflect on the following factors:
State of mind
Why do you want to become a pet owner? Everyone has their reasons for wanting a pet, but only choose to take care of one when your heart and mind is in the right place. Don’t make an impulsive and emotional decision to get an animal after experiencing a difficult event or simply for the sake of saying you have one. Know and feel without a doubt that you are ready to welcome a pet into your life.
Are you financially prepared to take care of an animal? Owning a pet will be an investment – especially when it comes to paying for medical expenses at the vet. Pets need yearly shots, vaccinations, and check-ups to ensure sure they’re always in tip-top shape. Medical bills can add up over time! It’s also important to think about the fact that animals are more prone to experiencing health problems when they are older. Are you able to pay for the medical expenses they may need?
Is your home a good fit for a pet? Think about where you live and if there are family members or roommates to take into account. Rental properties such as an apartment or condo will have specific regulations or restrictions regarding pet ownership. Check in with your landlord to get the details. In addition, if you have other members of the household, are they all on board with including a new family member as well? If you’re a new parent and recently welcomed a baby into the world, would owning a pet add more stress to your current position in life? Other animals count as family members too! Will it be a problem having a new pet adjust to your current ones if you have any?
Once you clock out of work, what do you like to do for fun? You want a pet that can participate in your favorite activities alongside you! Are you an active and outdoorsy individual who loves to go on adventures, or do you prefer to stay at home and relax with quiet hobbies? A type of dog who naturally reflects your personality and lifestyle will actually enhance the enjoyment of your favorite experiences. For example, if you love to run on the daily, choose a breed that needs to expel a lot of energy, like a Siberian Husky or German Shepherd. If you prefer taking things nice and easy, a small dog that can lay in your lap would be perfect for that flow of life. Don’t adopt a dog based solely on looks! Every dog has their own unique personality and natural tendencies, and they should coincide with yours.
Do you have enough time to spend with your pet, train them, and actively socialize with them during the day? Dogs need love and affection, and shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time or taken to a doggy daycare more often than staying at home. You need to set aside enough time to do all the aforementioned things with your pet. If you don’t, your dog can become depressed and even feel isolated. They don’t need your undivided attention every minute, they just need to be loved. Time is essential to building and strengthening a relationship with a dog!
Choose to adopt from rescue shelters as opposed to buying from breeders
Everyone has a preference for a breed of dog or may even desire to own one that is purely bred. However, while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you will significantly experience more benefits and feel extremely fulfilled by adopting a dog instead of buying one.
This is why you should choose to adopt from rescue shelters as opposed to buying from breeders:
You give animals a second chance at life
Majority of the animals at rescue shelters are there due to the circumstances of their owner, such as a divorce or newborn baby, and had to be given up for adoption. This doesn’t mean they were a bad animal; their life situation no longer worked out in their favor.Additionally, those same animals may have already been housebroken, trained, and are properly socialized and behaved around other people and animals. In other cases, some animals at a shelter must be euthanized after 72 hours. Ultimately, you give dogs a second chance at life when you adopt them. They have more things to look forward to and a new owner to love. You may even give them a better life overall.
Breeders and mills are driven by profit
As opposed to shelters, breeders and mills are mainly driven by profit in order to sell the most desirable animals to the public. Sometimes, these breeders are not regulated and may even be committing acts of animal cruelty with you realizing it. You make a dog from a rescue shelter one less statistic that may have been subject to animal cruelty and combat against the business of mills and breeders. Adopting one dog may not seem like it makes a difference in the world, but you are a person who made a difference in one dog’s life.
Rescue shelters cost significantly less than breeders
In fact, sometimes an adoption fee at a rescue shelter will be free, depending on the animal. This is especially prevalent for senior animals, in hopes that someone will want to adopt them. You save yourself hundreds, even thousands of dollars, off the bat, but in conjunction, you will know that your money is directly funding the animal shelter.
- Help stop pet overpopulation
As adorable and wonderful as newborn animals are, there is an overpopulation of them which illustrates there are more than enough pets in this world! There are numerous animals in the shelter who can already be your companion. Adopting also reduces the number of animals who will be euthanized as a result of being unadopted.
The benefits and positive impacts of adopting a pet
Without a doubt, any pet owner will tell you that owning a pet will be one of the most rewarding and best experiences of your life. These are some of the incredible ways of how a pet impacts you besides becoming your next best friend:
Alleviate depression and anxiety symptoms
If you suffer depression or anxiety, your symptoms will significantly decrease if you own a pet. Dogs are natural mood-boosters and calming creatures, but also can establish structure and support. They can also be medically enlisted as a therapy animal that can be with you at all times in public to ease anxiety, detect a potential panic or prevent it, and provide structure for your life that is difficult to sustain when experiencing depression.
When coming home from work or a bad day, there is nothing better than being greeted by a smiling face beaming up at you, wagging their tail, and licking your hand. Petting a dog also has the ability to stimulate the production of oxytocin, the “love” hormone” which is elicited from touch. In a way, you can view spending time with your dog as a coping mechanism that combats stress and makes you forget why you were feeling down in the first place.
Encourage you to be a social butterfly
You can’t just stay inside all day when you have a dog. You have to take them out on walks! And when you do, you’re bound to run into other fellow pet owners or people who just love to pet dogs in general. These interactions encourage you to have conversations with others and interact with them. Who knows? You may even make an unexpected friend or ask someone out on a first date. When you think about it, dog people are the best people! They value taking care of this wonderful creature, have a mutual and genuine bond with them, and understand why you can love a dog so much too. Last but not certainly not least, meeting fellow pet owners gives you the excuse to pet their adorable dogs as well.
Stay active, healthy, fit, and adventurous
Dogs need exercise just like human beings, and walking a dog is actually a form of one. If you want to take this exercise to a whole new level, run with them! Also, after some time, you begin to realize that walking the same route every gets pretty boring after a while. Therefore, you will feel more inclined to visit new places and go on spontaneous adventures with your dog. It’s compulsive since you’re always out in the sunshine!
Strengthen the immunity system and prevent allergies
Young children particularly benefit from growing up with pets since being around them strengthens their immune system and makes them less susceptible to developing allergies. Dogs have bacteria on their fur dust full of microbes that reduce this likelihood. Being exposed to them over a certain amount of time is extremely beneficial since it can change immune responses in a child’s airways.
Improve cardiovascular health
Studies show that owning a pet dramatically reduces the risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure. This is due to the fact that pets encourage you to be active and simultaneously relaxes you which also prevents obesity, reduces cortisol levels, and promotes cardiovascular health.
Receive unconditional love
There is nothing in this world that compares to the love of a pet. Once they love you, you are loved for life. Pets love you unconditionally and without judgment. They never expect you to be anything other than yourself. Furthermore, you can never feel alone or isolated when owning a pet, because they will always be a friend by your side. You can only look forward to great things when owning a dog. By no means will you regret introducing a new family member into your household.
I wish dogs could live the same amount of years as a human, but I think because they have a short life-span, we come to appreciate the value of life because of them, and make the most out of the temporary time we’re given.
It’s been years since Charlie passed away, but if I can tell you one thing with confidence it’s that owning a dog showed me there was more to life than our bad moments and mundane days. All a dog wants is to enjoy themselves, spend time with the owners they love, and get scratched on the head and belly. We can learn so many things from dogs, but the main thing we should take away.
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Also read: How to take care of pets?