You and your significant other are head over heels for each other, you can't imagine life without the other, and you feel like it's time to take the next step in your relationship. Nope, we're not talking about a sparking diamond ring - we're talking about pet parenthood.
Photo by Shelly Kim on Unsplash
It Will Change The Relationship.
Whoa, wait! Getting a cute dog or a sassy cat with your significant other may sound like the purrfect plan (sorry, we can't resist a little mid-sentence purr), but remember, parenthood is a serious commitment, not a cute pastime. That whole "caring-for-another-life" kind of commitment. Pets require hours of attention, regular vet visits, space, and socialization. They also require moolah to fund supplies, checkups, and the slew of unexpected joys that come with the gig (carpet cleaner, anyone?) We know, we know. You're imagining the amazing cuddles, that new puppy smell, those tiny paws. But before you take this leap, you must think it through: are you ready to go from being a duo to a trio? Does a pet fit in with your lifestyle? Because things will change (oh yes!) and you must be ready for it.
Do You Need A Pet?
This may be a no-brainer, but you ask yourself whether you and your significant other actually need a pet right now. Consider your reasons behind wanting to adopt an animal with the love of your life. Are you looking to make the next step in your relationship and a pet seems like the best way to do that? Or do you two actually feel compelled to love and care for an animal? Because those two wants are big-time different! Bottom line: get to the roots of your desire for a furball. What would a pet do for your relationship? If you're looking for adventure, a new way to spend time together or just a feeling of being closer, you don't necessarily need a pet to achieve it.
Photo by Manja Benic on Unsplash
Do Your Schedules Allow It?
Pets require a lot more love and attention than you may have time for. If you're planning to adopt a high-maintenance animal, like a large dog, you'll be spending a lot more time with it than you may think. If you and your significant other want to adopt a dog, think about how much time each of you have to dedicate to caring for the animal - and how it might disrupt and alter your relationship. Picture life with a dog. Envision a typical day. Who will clean up after the dog? Who will make sure the dog gets daily exercise, like walks and playtime? You and your significant other may have different schedules and priorities. One of you could easily get stuck with more new pet duties than the other. But remember, pets are our furry kids, not a new toy. These new responsibilities are important. If you two already argue about who takes out the trash or grocery shops, then you may not handle a pet too well.
Do Right By The Pet.
Pets don't get to choose their homes; owners get to choose their pets. Think about the wellbeing of the animal and if you feel ready for this next step in the relationship. Bringing a pet into your relationship will deliver a ton of joy. But then there's also the reality factor: like late night walks (when you might rather be in bed), cleaning pet poo out of your apartment carpet (interrupting your fave Netflix show), and scheduling challenges (when you'd rather simply worry about work or happy hour). Take in the full picture when you're making the big pet decision - not just the romps in the park and the idea of having a buddy to watch the Sunday game with. This isn't an effort to dissuade you but rather an effort to help you understand the reality of the new role you may be stepping into. Good luck, lovebirds!
So you've made the decision to get a dog or cat. Hooray! Pets are a lot of fun, can be exceptional cuddlers, and offer emotional support. There's a lot to do to prepare for your new furry family member, so let's get planning!