Imagine coming home to someone who is always happy to see you and eager to please you. Who will never leave your side and prove to be a lifelong friend? Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

Do you know what doesn’t sound nice? Impulsive actions that you later regret. Because coming home to that someone, is a lifelong commitment that requires a lot of effort from your end too. So how do you know it’s not an impulse based decision, but rather a very strong, heartfelt determination? Here is what you should keep in mind before committing to getting a pet home:

  • 1. Arriving on the decision

    What prompted you to think about this? Was it a cute image on a social media page? Or is your child asking you for one and you don’t feel like denying that cute face his/her request? Or was it peer pressure? When you start thinking of getting a pet home, it should surely come from a place of expanding your family. Because that is what a pet is – your new family member. One that will stay, until it’s last breath. And a genuine love towards a furkid. That is your first guide towards steering your mind into knowing whether what you think you want, is something you really want.

  • 2. The voiceless have feelings too

    People often think of animals as commodities, one that can be bought or picked up as long as they serve their needs. Know this – animals, like you, have a life that needs to be cared for. They have feelings much like yourself. Taking care of them is like caring for your own child. They too, fall ill and have to be looked after in the same way you would treat yourself if you are unwell. If the thought of this is too much for you, maybe you are not ready to adopt.

  • 3. Making Time

    Do you have the time to take care of a pet? Does your lifestyle allow for it? Or do you think you can place the responsibility on someone else to do it for you? When adopting, you should either be the primary caretaker, or have a strong support system at home, who will help care for the pet. This will ensure the pet doesn’t feel unwanted, and you won’t feeling guilty as well.

  • 4. Of One Mind

    Does everyone in your family agree with your decision? If you are adopting as a family, every member of the house should be on board with the decision. There are instances where after getting a pet home, some member of the family disagrees and the animal has to be sent back and, in some cases, is also abandoned, for no fault of its own.

  • 5. Awareness

    Do your research. Read up on the subject. Or better yet, talk to existing pet-parents to get a real sense of the responsibilities that come along with the job. Reach out to experts or adoption counselors (breeders not included), to understand what kind of a pet would be best suited for your family and home. You might like the big, fluffy-looking dogs or cats. But where you live, will the weather and space accommodate for the animal’s needs? This might also be a good time to figure with your doctor/physician whether you are allergic to animal dander/fur. These are important things to know as these will help avoid heartbreak for you or the pet. This way, they don’t have to get abandoned for no fault of theirs, and you too, can avoid the pain of separation.

  • 6. Can you spend?

    Does your financial planning allow for you to have a pet? A pet will need its own bowls, bedding, toys, collar, harness, treats & investment in some good quality food. There might also be regular or emergency vet visits which might cost a decent amount of money. Just like a child, the list of requirements for a pet goes on. Also, spending doesn’t just relate to money. It also refers to how much time and energy do you have to spend on a pet. The amount of interactive play and exercise a pet needs also depends on its breed. Some may also need regular training for a period of a few months.

  • 7. Are you an animal lover or an animal owner?

    There is a world of a difference in being an animal owner and an animal lover. If you have the paraphernalia to care for an animal, groom it regularly so that he/she looks nice and feed it pedigree food and play with it once in a while, you might be an animal owner. If you are doing all this, with or without support, and are involved in the pet’s care as a primary person, you are truly an animal lover. There are a few more factors which can help you decide which one you are. For eg. Do you want a pet for security reasons? Or purely for the love of an animal? There is nothing wrong with being either, as long as the animal is well looked after, physically and emotionally as well. Like we mentioned earlier, they have feelings too.

  • 8. Foster before you adopt, maybe?

    Adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment and emotional responsibility. So, if you are unsure whether this is the right step for you, you can start by opening up your heart and home to a furkid in need. By doing so, you might be able to better decide whether adoption is right for you and your family. This experience can raise a lot of important questions and explore some of the factors you should consider before deciding to adopt. It will make you realise that attachments with pets are formed not just by providing them with food and shelter, but with consistent and predictable interactions and discipline which plays an important role in the physical and emotional development of the pet. This option can also work for those of you who want a pet but cannot commit to having one full time. You can fulfill your heart’s desire to have a pet by fostering. And you never know, you might decide to adopt the pet you are fostering, a.k.a. they become a foster fail! 🙂 But do remember, every pet has a different personality so if you do end up fostering a difficult one (they might be difficult due to past abuse or experiences), don’t give up hope.