Before you take on a pet, make sure you want to have it for life. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

EDITORIAL: A pet is a lifetime commitment

Tons of people are getting pets during the pandemic, some for the first time

Pets are amazing.

Cats, dogs, bunnies, birds, and even the slightly less cuddly snakes, spiders and fish can provide a huge benefit to the people who take them in.

We don’t want to pour cold water over people’s pet-loving hearts. However, pets are also serious business, and we cannot lose sight of that amidst the cute and furry.

Tons of people are getting pets during the pandemic, some for the first time.

The desire for companionship is understandable. But it’s not something to be jumped into, like buying a new pair of novelty socks.

Taking in a pet is a lifetime commitment. Its lifetime. At least that’s the way everyone should look at it when they are considering whether to make one part of their family.

A pet isn’t something to get on a whim.

It’s best to have looked into the pros and cons first, such as how much time your pet will require of you, whether you can afford vet costs, and how much it will cost you in food or appropriate habitat. Is licensing required for your pet?

Also, though most people will outlive their pets (cats and dogs, for example, have much shorter lifespans than humans), you should make sure you’ve considered what will happen to your beloved family member should you die first.

The last thing we want to see is a whole bunch of people making an impulse pet buy, only to discover after COVID is finally over that the cute puppy isn’t so little anymore, and they want to be free to travel. We sincerely hope we’re not going to see a boom in demand for animal shelter space in a couple of years as the long-term reality of pet ownership sets in. Or, of course, the reprehensible decision to abandon them somewhere in the bush.

The dog will still need to be walked, even in the midst of winter, when it’s no longer a novelty, and you’re tired after a long day.

Please think about that before you get your furry family member, not after. As much as you adopt them, they adopt you. It is not all the same to them to go from having a family to being ditched at a shelter, where, though the employees and volunteers will do their best, it is not like what they had before.

Being sure before you adopt is the best thing you can do for your pet.

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