Pets: Best Selection

Society | March 13, 2003, Thursday // 00:00

The best way to select a pet is the way recommended by veterinarians. Pets selected on impulse, "for the children," or as a gift during the holidays sometimes end up this way. These pets once belonged to people who fell in love--and then changed their minds.

Selecting a pet should be a family project with everyone's needs, concerns, fears, and medical history (including allergies) considered. Family members should decide together what kind of animal they want, the amount of time they anticipate spending with it, and the amount of responsibility each person is willing to assume. Be realistic. Promises from some family members, particularly children, may not be fulfilled.

Your goal is to identify the best animal(s) for your living space, lifestyle, and budget. Take time, involve the family, and bear the following in mind: active dogs need more space and more daily exercise than older or more sedentary dogs, you and your family should discuss the reasons you want a companion animal and what you expect an animal to do with and for you, pets depend on people for daily affection and attention.

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