Like I mentioned in a previous post about whether bringing a dog into your home may be the right move for you, adopting a pet is a serious responsibility. When you bring a pet into your home, you are responsible for another living creature. This is not a responsibility to be taken likely, and thorough research is a must to determine whether you have the time, energy and financial means to take care of this living thing through the best of times, and through the worst.
It's a wonderful thing to fantasize about how a pet in your home will change your life and the lives of your family members. There are countless moments of joy and silliness when you discover the quirks and eccentricities of your pet. However, in some unfortunate cases, pets may not be all you imagined, whether it's because the environment of your home simply does not fit well with his or her temperament, or whether it's because they have a medical condition that you weren't prepared to deal with.
This is why I can never stress enough how important it is for prospective new dog owners to do their research before they invest in adopting a pet. What kind of dog is good for your family and home? What can be expected from a particular breed and what medical issues may arise? Will you have time and energy to ensure he or she gets enough play and exercise, and are you financially able to provide it the care it needs? This is the responsible thing to do when taking on another life, and ensures no surprises arise when you bring in a new pooch to your home.
I've met people and heard stories of those who adopted pets and brought them into their home, only to realize later that it was too much of a commitment for them, and ended up giving the animals away or abandoning them again.
If integrating a new pet into your home ends up being something you don't think you can take on, this doesn't mean you can't still have loving animals in your life. Many shelters and animal rescue foundations have opportunities for people to volunteer and donate their time and energy to work with animals. These are also organizations that allow you to rent a pet for awhile, so you don't have to commit to one full time. These are all great ways you can keep animals in your life while also giving back to creatures who need attention.
Remember, your pet may only be a part of your life, but you will end up being the whole of theirs.