22 Pet Owners On The One Thing That Lets You Know You’re Ready For A Pet

One of the best things about being an adult is being able, when you decide the time is right, to get yourself a cuddly friend on your own terms. But what lets you know that you’re ready to be a pet-parent? We all flirt with the idea, but what tips the scale in favor of “mature and responsible enough to care for another living thing?” In partnership with Purina’s Better With Pets Summit, we asked 23 pet owners – the real experts in the matter – to tell us the one thing that lets you know you’re ready to take the puppy plunge.

1. “Before I got my dog, I got in the habit of walking in my neighborhood twice a day, every day, at the exact same time. It prepared me for when I’d need to do it regardless of whether I wanted to or not (and it helped me get healthier, too).”

2. “Are you willing to clean up after another creature’s poop? And their vomit? And stick your hand into their mouth to fish out something they tried to eat?”

3. “I was at my friend’s house, and her cat just sat in my lap the entire time I was watching a movie. She was so chill with me and claimed me as her nap spot. I kind of knew then that I wanted a cat of my own to snuggle. It was the weirdest, best kind of unconditional affection I’d ever experienced.”

4. “When I was little, I’d always lure home stray kittens I found. My mom made me always take care of them – she’d provide the funds for food and everything, but it was up to me to go to the store, and it was up to me to scoop the litter box. It was a crash course in taking care of another creature (especially when you’re 7 years old), but I eventually stopped bringing strays home and focused instead on the two kittens who we hadn’t given to friends for adoption.”

5. “I had a goldfish for three years — it just would not die — but when it finally passed, I was so upset. I know a fish kind of doesn’t count as a pet, but if I was so attached to that thing, I knew I was ready for an animal that lasted at least four times longer than that.”

6. “I kept my cousin’s dog for a weekend when she was out of town and I got used to snuggling with him every night. When my cousin came to pick him up, I knew I would miss that if I didn’t get a puppy of my own.”

7.“My kids got to the age where they could help with a pet instead of chasing it around and making me worry they were tormenting it.”

8. “I grew up with cocker spaniels, and when I moved to a new city on my own, I really missed having that link to home. Every time I’d pass one on the street, I wanted to cry. Getting one of my own kind of felt like I was home anyway.”

9. “My girlfriend and I did the ‘getting a pet before getting married or having a kid’ thing, and it brought us a lot closer. We figured that if we could coordinate taking care of it, that’d be the true test of whether we could do this for the long haul — and so far it’s worked.”

10. “When I lived with roommates I knew it wouldn’t be fair to them for me to get a giant dog like I had always wanted, so once I got my own place I went and adopted my Great Dane that I had always wanted.”

11. “I fostered animals for a really long time before I adopted one; there was this tiny gray kitten that just mattered more to me than any other foster, and I had to keep him. Fostering is a great way to try out having a pet if you’re nervous about if it’s going to work out in the long haul, and I’d totally recommend it.”

12. “I always wanted a cat, but with all my travel for work there was just no way I could have one and give it the attention he deserved. When I moved to a more steady office role, I got two cats. I figured since I could now watch one, why not double down and get him a friend as well?”

13. “I knew I was ready for a dog when I got a first floor apartment. No way either of us would want to ride in the elevator 4 or 5 times per day for bathroom trips.”

14. “When my boyfriend and I broke up, I honestly missed his cat more than I missed him, so I got one of my own.”

15. “I really didn’t want to get a dog until I moved out of the city and had a yard for him to run around in. As soon as I got my new place and unpacked, getting a dog was the first thing I did. She loves it out here.”

16. “When I was in between jobs I really wanted to get a cat, but I figured if I was scraping by on food and luxuries for myself, why would I bring an animal into that same situation? When I got financially stable I got one. I just wanted to make sure she was taken care of the way she deserves.”

17. “I used to move around a lot and wanted to wait until I knew I was going to be in one place for a long time before I got a dog because I didn’t want him to have to constantly be adjusting to a new place, only to change it all and start over 6 months later.”

18. “My best friend moved away and couldn’t take her dog with her, so I stepped in even though I had no idea how I was going to take care of the thing. It turns out that Baxter is the best thing that ever happened to me.”

19. “Sometimes it really seems like your pet finds you, more than you find them. When I saw my dog up for adoption, we just clicked. I know that may sound weird to say about an animal, but it’s so true.”

20. “Once I had a work schedule that would allow me to take at least a half an hour walk each day, I knew that I could get a dog. I didn’t want him stuck in the house all day, every day.”

21. “Honestly, it was down to money. I knew I’d need to hire a dog walker for the middle of the day, and once I was financially comfortable enough to do that, it made so much more sense to finally get a pet.”

22. “Don’t get a dog just for the sake of getting a dog. When you go in to the shelter and you see one that you know you’d want to be a part of your life for years to come, that’s when it’s right. I mean, you’re bringing someone new into your family. It really has to be a gut feeling that THAT is your pet, and in a way, always has been.” TC mark

image – Jim Winstead

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