Are You a ‘Good’ Pet Owner?

We had a great response and a lot of interaction last year when we did a blog piece on responsible pet ownership, so I thought we could revisit it with a similar topic: what makes for a good pet owner? ‘Responsible’ is one thing – that’s like having a savings account, flossing and contributing to your 401(k) (in other words, a tad dull). But being a good pet owner? That’s like riding an albino shark over Niagara Falls while playing the Star-Spangled Banner on a solid-gold kazoo. In a word: awesome. (Also, dangerous: DO NOT DO.)

So, what characteristics make for a really good pet owner? It’s obviously more than just plopping down the puppy chow and scooping the litter box, right? There has to be that special connection, that spark of kindness that recognizes all that you get from your pets, and turns it around to benefit them. To me, a really good pet owner realizes the big part that pets play in a family and treats that pet (whether it is a dog, cat or one of the many cavorting wee beasties that people keep as pets) with a furry version of the same love that everyone in the family receives.

So, here I will offer up my criteria for what makes a good pet owner, and give you a peek into the world of my own pets to see how they fare. I currently have two dogs, two cats, three chickens and a snake (plus a whole bunch of fish) living on the premises.

Feel free in the comments section to let us know what sets you apart as a good pet owner – the special things you do for them to celebrate the fun and love that they bring to your family.

My Minimum Standard Dr. T’s Pets
Love: Snuggles and cuddles, you know the stuff.  Plenty of one-on-one time on the couch, on walks, camping and at the park. We watch the tube together, camp together, and the kids love playing with the dogs (except the 9 year old – he’s ‘too cool’ for that right now). I have lots of pics of the babies rolling around with the dogs on the living room floor.
Fun: Stuff they love to do that’s healthy for both of you – catch, laser pointer. We do take our younger dog for play dates at a local kennel, but I don’t do enough with them myself. It’s going on the ‘to do’ list! I could use the exercise, too.
Planning: OK, so it’s a little like flossing, but planning what kind of pet you are getting and making sure they fit into your lifestyle are important! Don’t get a Great Dane if you live in a studio apartment! Our medium-sized dogs get regular exercise in our yard and the cats are safe from predators and disease in our house.
Health: Making sure you can take care of them when they need it. You don’t have to break the bank on a brain transplant, but part of being a good pet owner is making sure they get good preventive care and good medical attention when they take ill. Preventing parasites and getting a yearly checkup equals good pet care in my book! Our older dog just got the 100,000 mile service, and I can take them in to work when they need care. (Granted, I may have a slight advantage over the average pet owner in this department)

-Photo Credit: From Mar Sension. This is Maddi and Wyatt celebrating Wyatt’s first birthday. 

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