Mckinney Courier-gazette > News
Choose the right kind of pet for you and your lifestyle
By James Bias
Every year, hundreds of pet owners drop off their pets at the SPCA of Texas. Some owners weren’t prepared for the responsibility of a dog or cat. Some weren’t expecting the animals to be so active, or so big, or have hereditary health problems that are expensive to treat. Some owners want a calm house pet and end up with an energetic working dog who just can’t sit still.
It’s not the animals’ fault they didn’t fit into the owner’s lifestyle, but they’re the ones who pay the price.
If you’re thinking of bringing home a new pet, here are some important steps to take to avoid the heartbreak of returning a pet because it just isn’t right for you:
Research breed types and compare them to the characteristics you’re looking for in a pet. Just because you fall in love with a certain “look” of dog or cat doesn’t mean the behavior and personality of that breed will match yours. Huskies are lovely, but can be stubborn and need lots of exercise. Terriers are cute and cuddly, but are bred for their determination to hunt down rodents so they will chase and bark until they catch that squirrel.
Labs may not be very exotic looking, but they’re loyal, smart and make great companions. Even a mixed breed animal shows the traits of the various breeds that make up his heritage, so it’s important to find out what breeds are in that mix.
Know thyself. Do you like to go jogging every day or take long walks, even in the rain? Or do you prefer to just open the back door so your dog can go out when he needs to? Do you have a backyard large enough for a big dog to run around in, or are you limited to a small patio or no outdoor space of your own at all?
Are you willing to spend the weeks housetraining a puppy or do you really need to find an older dog who has already been trained? Perhaps you’d prefer just to clean out a litterbox for a cat.
James Bias is president of the SPCA of Texas.