Author Topic: The Importance of Research  (Read 723 times)

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The Importance of Research
« on: May 09, 2017, 06:02:21 pm »
I encourage you to read all of this; it's extremely important and is a necessity for providing a good quality of life for your animal companion.

As furries, we naturally love animals! It's pretty much a given. Whether we have pets or not, we still form deep connections with animals, and it's an important part of our lifestyles. However, with this, we need to be aware that 'love' is not synonymous with 'responsible.' Animals are not toys, and they are not there for your enjoyment, as much as it may seem that way. They are living creatures with emotional, mental, and physical needs, and we as humans gain a sense of fulfillment from providing for other creatures. Having pets is one of many ways to give back to the creatures that captivate us. That being said, not everyone is meant to have pets, even if they adore animals.

The most important decision you have to make as a potential pet owner, is a REALISTIC self-evaluation of what you can and cannot handle. Sometimes, you just aren't in the right life situation to have an animal companion, and that's okay. You may never be, and that's okay. Or, you might someday have the means to provide for a whole plethora of animal friends, and that's okay too!

But, because the answer to "Am I prepared to have an animal companion?" can differ from person to person, it is YOUR responsibility to research and think about the welfare of the animal. Pets are 100% dependent on you. Their lives are in your hands, and it's up to you what kind of life they have. Having a pet is like having a child. Even something as oddball as a colony of roaches needs feeding, cleaning, environment maintenance, and more. While it may not be as difficult as raising a human child, you are adopting these creatures as your own, and thus they are YOUR children now. You can't abandon them when you "don't feel like it" anymore.

What This Means For You
This site is filled with young adults, which means we're all very busy. That's totally fine! If you can balance work and your pet, awesome! And it's okay if sometimes you need help. There's no way to learn if you don't start somewhere.

However, a lot of young people get excited about animals, and psych themselves into thinking they can handle something they cannot.
The typical high school student will have roughly 8 hours of class during weekdays, give or take depending on what electives they take; they'll have a couple hours of homework each night, give or take; extra-curricular activities, peppered throughout the week; family obligations, such as church, vacations, holidays, reunions, etc.; and down time that they'd like to spend alone or just relaxing.

If that alone sounds stressful, put the responsibilities of pet ownership on top.

If you live with your parents, often they'll be aware of your maturity level and what THEY can handle, if you decide to 'abandon' your pet. It sounds harsh, but it happens. Parents will allow their child to get a pet that is "theirs" only if the parents know that they can take care of it if the child has other priorities once the excitement wears off. This isn't true for everyone, but, it's a typical parenting move.

Parents can TOTALLY help you with your pet-- it's a lot of work for anyone! But, when you've completely handed over the reins is when you've proven you're irresponsible.

So! To have your OWN pet and not just a 'family' pet is a huge step up from what you might be used to. Prepare to spend your free time caring for your animal(s), spending your hard earned money on supplies and food for your animal(s), as well as paying for vet bills, boarding during vacations, or pet sitters.

for example...

My sister is 13 years old and pays for 75% of her German Shepherd's fees. She uses her allowance to buy her food, toys, medicine (since she's an older dog), treats, and dog soap. The only thing my parents cover for her are the vet bills, because she's only 13. My sis cares for her 100% aside from driving her to the vet. That is HER dog.

I'm in college, and I keep an aquarium and an African grey parrot. Since I'm not allowed to have my bird on campus, my mom helps me and cares for him until I can get my own apartment. But almost all of the money I make every two weeks goes to him-- vet bills (avian costs are way higher since they're considered 'exotic'), food, toys, perches, fresh vegetables, nail and beak trims, etc. Before I moved to school, I was his sole caregiver, and I was responsible for training him as well. I had two jobs so that I could afford his adoption, as well as setting up his big cage, his sleeping cage, his java tree, harness, and crate. Everyone in the house interacts with him, but he is MY bird. With my fish, there's no one around to care for them except for me. I bought their tank, their water chemicals, plants, gravel, decor, filter, heater, thermometer, water testing strips, food (both flake and brine shrimp, which have to be cured in bubbling water overnight to hatch), and medicine. My parents didn't help with any of that. If someone in that tank gets sick, it's up to me to quarantine, buy meds, treat, and make sure everyone else is healthy. It's up to me to do water changes, clean the tank, and make sure the levels of pH, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites are all where they should be.

RESEARCH BEFORE YOU GET HOOKED. Animals are cute. Some are beautiful, some are charismatic, some are just plain interesting. No matter what, though, PLEASE READ AS MUCH AS YOU CAN ABOUT THE ANIMAL YOU WANT. I have seen too many abused animals owned by peers who thought they knew what they were doing. I've seen animals be neglected when 'something more important' comes up. I've seen animals pawned off to parents or even to shelters because the 'fun' wore off.
Don't do that to the poor creature. It costs $0 to Google "how to care for _______."

Don't do it because I tell you to, though. Do it because you want to give the best life possible to your animal!
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 11:12:45 am by Red Velvet »
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