Picking a Pet

Picking up Vicki

Just after Christmas we had to make the hard decision to say goodbye to our sweet Miniature Schnauzer since she developed cancer. She was almost 15 years old, so she lived a long and happy life. We knew we needed to get another dog, and began our search. We have had 3 Miniature Schnauzers through my life. The first was a birthday gift from my mom to my dad when I was five. So we had no problem knowing that we wanted the same kind of dog again.

When you are deciding upon a pet, you need to do research and see what needs they have and how much they cost. Ask questions such as:

  • How much does the pet cost (for the initial purchase)? Even if you plan on adopting, there is usually a fee.
  • How long is it’s usual lifespan (you need to know how long your commitment might be and consider if the pet will fit into your life in the future)?
  • What will be the on going costs (such as food, toys, beds, crates, cage, aquarium, or any other items that are needed)?
  • Is there a veterinarian in your area that can take care of your pet (or experts on certain types like fish) How much does veterinary care cost?
  • Will my home work for this type of animal? Do I have space for it? Some animals need a lot more space as they grow and some need a lot of space for exercise.
  • Will this animal fit with my and my family’s lifestyle? Even in dogs, each breed has general characteristics that you need to accommodate. In our case, we were getting a Miniature Schnauzer and they love to be with the family. They do well when they can hang out with the family and do not do well as an outdoor dog. Even within breeds, each animal will have their own personality, likes, and dislikes. However, if you do research, this will give you an idea of whether a particular pet will be a good fit for you.
  • Where are you going to get your pet? You can check your local animal shelters. We put our name on a pet finder list encase a Miniature Schnauzer was available. Also, check reputable breeders. Ask the breeder questions. If you are getting from a reputable breeder, they will be willing to answer questions because they want to make sure that their animal is going to a good home. In the case of getting a puppy, a breeder should not want you to get the puppy any sooner than 8 weeks old since puppies need to socialize with their litter mates and be weened. If they are more interested in getting your money than the welfare of the puppy; stay away from that breeder. See if they offer a health guarantee. Ask lots of questions, ask for photos, and visit if possible. You want to make sure that you are not supporting a puppy mill or an irresponsible breeder.
  • Whatever you do, please do not support the illegal pet trade. This is one of the causes of animals going endangered. Also, illegal trafficking of animals often supports other criminal activity such as terrorism. If you are getting an animal that could be exotic, ask to see paperwork to make sure it didn’t come from the wild. There are plenty of domesticated animals to choose from as a pet and since they have been domesticated, they are better suited for pets. Wild animals are never “tame”.

This is just the beginning of doing your research. I’m not an expert in pet care, but learning as I go. We just brought our new puppy, Vicki, home less than a week ago. I’ll be posting information about our experiences with her, to share what we learn as well as making some You Tube videos. I can already see that she is going to be a challenge, since she is very mouthy and energetic. I’m looking forward to see where our journey with her goes. I hope I can share things that may help others and I’m glad to learn from others also (especially how to handle the chewing and mouthing).

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