It’s spring. At least it’s spring somewhere; I’m a little skeptical about its actual arrival in not-so-sunny Chicago. I’ve been yearning for spring and its promise of a fresh start—green grass, blooming flowers, bursting buds. Soon I’ll see bunnies in the backyard and ducklings at the pond down the street. And I can’t wait.
I can’t resist a fuzzy baby. It’s remarkable that I’ve returned from the pet store without a kitten (or puppy or bunny) in tow. They’re adorable! Can I get a collective, “Awwww”?
But there’s more—much more—to a pet than the “awwww” factor. Spring is a popular time of year for adorable gifts like baby animals, and the Humane Society continues to remind us that young, adorable animals mature quickly into adults and need daily care for the rest of their lives.
A friend who works at a local animal shelter shared sage advice about choosing a pet: consider skipping the babies and opt for a young adult dog or cat. Yes, puppies and kittens are undeniably cute, but like all babies, they are labor-intensive.
A one- or two-year-old, on the other hand, is still cute it its own right. But it’s been potty trained. It won’t cry all night or cut its first teeth on your sofa or shoes. And when you meet, you’ll be able to better determine its size and temperament.
As a mom, I knew going into our pet adoption that I’d be the one to pick up the pet care slack. I ensured I’d have the tools I need to clean our tank, and then I enlisted my son’s help (happily, he’s still enthusiastic about helping).
It’s not a bad gig—but it could have been if we’d relied on the “awwww” factor and opted for a fuzzy baby. I very easily could have ended up with a third “child.” That potential bundle would make an ideal addition for some families, but would have overwhelmed mine.
Or should I say, it would have overwhelmed me?
If we ever decide to move beyond our fish, a young adult dog (if you ask my daughter, she’d say a young adult cat) might be perfect: young enough to grow with us, old enough to skip the growing pains.
I continue to be humbled by the pet adoption decision, and how many factors a family should take into consideration. A young adult from an animal shelter might be the answer!