Should I get a Pet?
Yes. Post over…
Honestly it depends. Pets are a massive responsibility. Even a hamster is a big burden, you may think it isn’t but if you care for an animal properly it is an effort at times to have one. I personally have so far had rabbits, dogs, a cat, hamsters, dwarf hamsters and guinea pigs. Minus the fish here because all fish are is pretty things to look at in a tank. There is nothing between you and the fish, except the glass! Buh-dum-tish! I’m here all week.
Fish to me are more of a hobby, you can’t really just have a goldfish in a bowl, firstly that’s actually animal cruelty and secondly it’s boring. I used to work in a pet shop and of course you had the occasional parent who wanted to buy some cold water fish that wouldn’t last a year, stick it in a small tank and placate a child on its birthday. But there was a a group of very serious aquarists that would frequent the shop. These guys were serious about their aquariums and the Eco-system they were building so very carefully. They all loved it so it’s a good hobby to have and hobbies can be good for mental health. But this post isn’t about hobbies.
It’s about puppies!
A dog can be a great pet to have, I have a big black German Shepherd and he’s by far my best friend. I’d sell any and all of my friends into slavery if it meant he could live as long as me. The bond between a person and their dog is one that is so powerful that it can indeed help tremendously with improving mental health. Many people even forego having children and instead have a small pack of dogs and this is an option I’d most certainly consider. I often dream of owning my own cabin in a green belt somewhere and having four or five German Shepherds with me. Funnily enough there’s never a wife in that fantasy but it’s not me ruling out the possibility it’s more that she better fit in with the pack than the other way around.
Cats are Marmite. You seem to either love them or hate them. People are either cat people or dog people. Personally I find I connect with dogs far better than with cats, or humans. But I do in fact like cats. I’m absolutely against the exploitation of animals for profit and that would include horse racing and dog racing which I don’t like. But I don’t hold ill will against those who do enjoy it. Growing up in Ireland, I’m very much in the minority with my opinions and that’s fine.
However I make this point because my next point would sound somewhat callous if I didn’t and that is I believe a pet should pay rent. I mean if I’m going to feed, wash, house, clean up after, medically take care of and exercise an animal I expect more than a cute face in return. My dog right now serves a brilliant purpose of home security. Not many people are brave enough to climb through a window where I live when they see his teeth while he growls at them.
Cats are the same, cats have a purpose, they pay their rent. They keep pests down, assuming you don’t overfeed your cat and it doesn’t feel the need to hunt and kill pests. End of day rats make fantastic pets!
But domesticated rats and wild rats are totally different. One is clean and friendly, very good with children and is actually a totally different breed of rat to the one climbing in the sewers. The latter need to be kept at a minimum for human health and safety. That’s where Puss’N’Boots comes in.
Small animals like hamsters are good pets, but amazingly not for young children. A dwarf hamster needs to be domesticated by the owner as they haven’t been bred long enough by humans to have this trait ingrained in them. And often dwarf hamsters end up in a cage alone for most of their lives. Syrian Hamsters are much more open to human contact and can make good pets and they can teach children the importance of care, gentleness and respect for living things. But if you are going small pet I’d recommend a rat. They are incredibly intelligent, domesticated for over a thousand years so they are born pretty comfortable with humans, they are big and therefore less easy to kill my accident and they are very loving. But I’m not here to sell animals.
If you are lonely, an introvert, lacking a strong connection, longing for a close bond, want someone to listen to you, have someone that makes your worst days okay then I’d recommend you get a dog or a cat. I know when I enter an extreme depressive episode I may not be able to feed myself or dress myself but Blitz doesn’t care, he’ll be in my face whinging and licking me until I feed him. That little push can help propel you into doing other things you need to get done. If not at least you can lie in a ball on the bed and be glad that you actually achieved something that day.
You don’t need your animals to pay rent like I do but even if they don’t the bond you will have with them will be immense. Unfortunately you have to be aware that animals are expensive once you factor in vets bills. My dog has epilepsy and nearly died from pancreatitis, he also has anxiety and therefore he costs an arm and a leg in vets bills and medication costs to control his seizures. I still wouldn’t trade him for the world. So yes, if you can afford an animal and you will love that animal until the day it dies, get a pet.