Are you a workaholic? Want a pet? Here’s what to consider, and how to make sure you’re ready for the ups and downs of pet ownership…
While apartment hunting, my roommate made no secret about his desire for a dog. Never mind that we both worked full-time and had limited time to care for a pet. Even still, he really wanted a puppy to cuddle with. Given the many benefits of having a pet, I was ready to get one too. But is it fair to the puppy? The more I thought about it, when you’re out for most of the day for work, taking care of an animal just didn’t seem feasible.
With careful research and planning, though, it is possible to bring a fuzzy little one into your life. Make sure you’re realistic and aware of the responsibilities for the pets you consider before committing to your animal-loving journey, and you’ll find that having a pet can be a fulfilling addition to your life.
Man’s best friend is the classic pet. I’ll admit, I’m pretty biased, since I always had a dog growing up, but there’s nothing quite like coming home to dogs who’ve missed you all day. Of course, you’re also coming home to little living beings who rely on you for love, food, exercise, and care.
Dogs are high maintenance pets—you’ll have to walk him before and after work, and provide plenty of love whenever you’re home. If you work all day, it’s best to adopt adult dogs rather than puppies, since training is time-consuming. And, as is true with any pet, it’s always kinder to have two pets so they can play with each other.
Have toys for your dogs to play with while you’re away, and don’t make a big deal about your departure. It helps if you leave for short amounts of time at first, and build up to a whole day’s absence. I also highly recommend considering doggie daycare or hiring a walker to stop by so your dogs aren’t alone all day.
Adopting a dog will alter your lifestyle. It’ll mean getting up earlier in the morning for the first walk of the day, and going out for an hour after work with your dog. Unlike your gym routine or diet, there can’t be any “cheat days” when it comes to taking your dog out. Dogs need their outdoor exercise time every day! It’ll also mean having the most loyal, affectionate pet who’ll love you so much he’ll shake with happiness every time you come home.
Cats are the perfect working-owner pets. They don’t need to go outside to do their business, they need less companionship than most dogs, and they’re generally content to sleep the day away in a sunny spot. The best apartment cats are adaptable, not highly active, and can tolerate solitude.
The best way to go is to adopt two litter-buddies who are already friends, so that they’ll have someone to play and cuddle with while you’re away for the day. Visit your local shelters and look for two bonded cats with calm temperament and an easygoing nature. Keep in mind that, independent as they are, cats need their daily show of affection, too!
GUINEA PIGS AND RABBITS
If you want a pet, but aren’t ready for the huge responsibility of a dog, or you’re allergic to cats, guinea pigs or rabbits can fulfill your companionship needs. They’re very social animals so adopting multiple guinea pigs and/or rabbits is essential. They’re much happier if they have a safe room in your apartment/house to call their home, instead of just a cage, and lots of new toys on the regular. They’ll also need cuddle time with you for at least a few hours every day.
BIRDS AND FISH
In case you were thinking that a bird or fish would be less work and just as rewarding, please allow me to disillusion you. Keeping birds in cages or fish in tanks is not only cruel and against their natural instincts (since both yearn to migrate great distances), but a lot more work that you’d expect.
Birds are very smart and need a lot of stimulation — more than they can get in a cage, and therefore often get severely depressed when held in captivity. Fish tanks need to be cleaned on a very regular basis, which is a lot less fun than scooping litter, believe me! For that reason, I strongly urge you to stick to dogs, cats or guinea pigs…
Getting a pet is a big decision, but the love between animal and owner is incomparable. Even if you work during the day, it’s something worth considering!