If your ONE Thing is your personal life, there are few things in the world that can benefit you as much as a furry companion. More than just a responsibility, pets have been shown to improve our overall well-being by decreasing our stress and ridding us of our anxiety.
But for all the benefits they provide us, owning a pet takes time.
When I was younger, I wanted to get a pet, but my occupation made that difficult. At the time, I happened to be working as a chef, and that didn’t exactly offer a lot of free time for things like house training or long walks. As the saying in the culinary world goes, “Which shift do you want: the first half of the day, or the second?” With such a busy schedule, what kind of pet could I possibly own? Pets take time. That’s why it’s important to have one that compliments your lifestyle.
Man’s best friend. Grade “A” Doggo. Cute puppers. No matter the name, we love them all. Dogs are awesome companions that can become a wonderful addition to any family (even a family of one). In fact, a number of studies show that dogs can have a long-term beneficial impact on both our mental and emotional health. They come in a variety of sizes with an array of temperaments to suit almost any lifestyle, be it going on hikes every weekend of snuggling on the sofa. However, dogs do tend to require more time and attention than other pets.
If they’re puppies, they’re going to require a lot of house training, walking, and general care. Older dogs still need to be let out, given exercise, and groomed. There’s also the continual cost of vet trips throughout the years. If you’re wanting a pet who requires little effort and isn’t as expensive – than a dog probably isn’t the right pet for you. If you still want the occasional dog snuggle, you can offer to pet sit for friends and family members, volunteer to become a dog walker, or donate some of your time to a local animal charity, such as Austin Pets Alive!
A cat was the solution to my chef dilemma. I loved warm, fuzzy creatures, but didn’t have the schedule that allowed me to dedicate time to a more hands on pet (namely, a dog). Cats often get a bad rep – think of the word “catty” for instance – but they can be just as loving and fun as a dog (when they want to be).
The plus side of a cat ownership includes increases in health and happiness, and less of our daily time goes into cat management: they have a litter box, they don’t need to be walked, and they usually come to you housebroken. Yes, cats are strange little beings with a series of ticks and behavioral quirks. They also develop their own language to talk to us. (True story. Who knew?) And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that with cat ownership, you have to learn to live with a certain level of randomness and mischief. But if the occasional purr puts a hard week into perspective, being a cat parent might be the right choice for you.
Turtles, lizards, and – yes – even certain types of snakes can be fun pets. If you’ve always wanted a four legged (or no legs, if it is a snake) companion, but can’t or don’t want to have to deal with pet hair – a reptilian pet may be right up your alley. Bearded dragons, iguanas, or other tiny lizards can be fun additions to any household. Unlike some of the other hypoallergenic pet options, a lot of reptiles actually enjoy some play time and snuggle time, and offer a lot of the same health benefits and sense of companionship as a dog or cat. Moreover, they often require less work and cleanup, and can be kept in specialty aquariums or cages. However, for those who are slightly squeamish having to feed your scaly friend bugs or even mice may be a bit hard to swallow (unless you’re a snake!).
Before I was ever allowed to get a puppy, my parents gave me a fish. Fish are great training-wheel pets if you have kids and you’re concerned about responsibility. And if you’re just an adult who wants a pet who doesn’t want to deal with anything four-legged, fish can be a wonderful investment. There are both fresh and salt water specimens available for any budding Ichthyologist. However, maintaining an aquarium takes a fair bit of time and money. So if you’re looking for a low maintenance pet a fish, especially a salt water fish, may not be your best option. Also, it is hard to cuddle a fish (trust me, we’ve tried).
That letter from Hogwarts is coming any day now. You’ve got to be prepped. Whether you fancy an owl, a canary, or a falcon (hello, falconry), there are many things to consider when owning a bird.
The biggest thing to know is that birds, like most pets, require a decent amount socialization. There’s only so much behavioral training you can do for your bird. No matter how long they are domesticated they will always be wild at heart (wouldn’t you be too if you had wings?). Most birds are great with people who hold strict routines. If you’re the type of person who timeblocks nearly every aspect of their day, a bird might be the right person for you. Your predictability, or better yet, “reliability”, may leave you prepared to nurture and care for an avian friend.
Have any cute pets of your own? Comment on our Facebook page and share their photo!