Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Responsible Pet Care is a Lifetime Commitment

By Linda Cole

So many pets find their way to shelters for one reason or another. Sometimes an owner decides that they can’t or don’t want to take care of their pet any longer. For most responsible pet owners, every single day spent with our pet gives us an unconditional love that's hard to beat. Deciding to bring a pet into your life is a commitment that should never be done lightly, and if you do decide to offer a pet a home, it's should be for the pet's lifetime. Responsible pet ownership means promising to take care of the pet through sickness and health – in good times and bad – for the life of the pet.

When you decide you are ready to share your home with a pet, it's important to make sure the pet is the right match for your lifestyle. But the first thing you need to consider is if you are ready for a lifetime commitment of responsible pet care. Adopting a dog or cat means you have considered the expense for a lifetime of quality pet food, veterinary care, vaccinations, spaying or neutering, toys, beds, leashes, collars and any other expense that may be associated with your pet. Taking care of a pet isn't cheap, but every dollar spent is well worth the investment because they will give you a lifetime of love, loyalty and companionship no matter where you live, who you hang out with, what your income level is, or how nice (or clunky) your car is. A pet will stick with you through thick and thin, and it's only fair we do the same for them.

Circumstances beyond our control can change plans and lives in the blink of an eye. An illness, loss of a job or having to relocate because of a new job can leave a pet owner with few options. Sometimes that lifetime commitment must be broken and heartbreaking partings have to take place for owners who truly love their pets. The bond we share with our pets is strong, and they know more than they get credit for. But circumstances can sometimes rule out keeping a pet, and there's nothing you can do.

Unfortunately, there are pet owners who have never made a lifetime commitment to their pet. They see pets differently and have no problem getting one for a short time before giving that pet away and then getting another one, repeating the cycle every few years. Pets are not fashion statements! They are living beings with feelings. They feel pain and will mourn the loss of another pet or their human. Dogs and cats love being with the people they trust and respect. They are there when we're sad, happy, angry, or when we just want to be alone.

Pets ask no questions, they make no judgments, spread no rumors and tell no secrets. Dogs and even cats will put their life on the line to protect us. The least we can do for them is be responsible pet owners and give them a lifetime commitment for a happy, safe, healthy and balanced home. Julia Williams wrote a great article for this blog, “23 Ways to Be a Responsible Pet Owner,” that has some good advice for taking care of our four legged friends.

When you bring a dog or cat into your home, you're making a commitment to care for and love that pet for up to 15 years or more. Dogs require exercise, some more than others, and both cats and dogs want and need our attention. They want to spend time with us just because of who we are. There are things to consider before bringing a pet into a home, but once you do, it'll be the best decision you ever made.

Responsible pet care is a lifetime commitment. Pets aren't something to be discarded because they don't match the living room curtains or because they don't do what you say. If you don't take the time to train them, how are they supposed to know what you expect from them? Pets are pretty good at reading our body language and understanding our moods, but they can't read our minds –well, I don't think they can, but sometimes I wonder. Pets are not something you get to impress the neighbors or family members and you don't get rid of them just because they have an accident on the living room rug or develop a behavioral problem.

A pet should be forever; a lifetime commitment to love, honor and protect a dog or cat with the best pet care possible. A pet would never consider giving us away for any reason, and they give us a lifetime of unconditional love with no questions asked.

Read more articles by Linda Cole


  1. This is such a good article. If everyone would fully consider what responsible pet care really means before adopting that cute puppy or adorable kitten, there would be a lot less animals ending up in shelters.

  2. I agree 100%! It's so sad how many animals end up hurt or worse, due to irresponsible ownership. I think of pets as "forever toddlers". Just like a baby, if you can't be a parent, don't get a pet. :)


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