The bond between humans and other animals is an ancient one. We have been domesticating animals since we developed society. It’s natural to desire the companionship of a pet. Here is what you need to know before you get your first pet.
Make sure you’re prepared to own a pet before you make the leap. You may want a dog, but if you cannot commit to taking them for a walk at least three times a day, it may be better to pick another animal. A cat can provide the same affection but needs less interaction. Pick something that fits your lifestyle and your home’s size.
Don’t discount allergies. Get tested before you get your pet to be sure everyone in your home can live with your new friend. Make sure that when you do acquire your pet, you get the supplies you need before they come home. You’ll need to pet-proof your house to keep them from getting into toxic substances, or areas they shouldn’t go. They will also need food, water bowls and plenty of toys, as well as cleaning supplies. Make sure you have a vet picked out beforehand as well, as you never know when you will need one.
Your pet, especially if it is a rescue, may be nervous when they first arrive. The best thing you can do to bond with your new pet, to help them acclimate to their new surroundings, is to give them time and space. Training is an excellent way to help your pet know their place in their new home, but also to bond with you as their caregiver. Daily grooming, like brushing, is another way to get closer to your pet while seeing to their needs. Play with your pet. The more you engage with them, the more they will learn to love you. The more you play with them, the better behaved they will be. An engaged, happily tired pet has less energy and inclination to be destructive than a bored, under-stimulated pet.
Pets can be invaluable to all our lives, but especially to those in addiction recovery. Pets can help us in so many ways, including fighting off anxiety and depression, and helping us to feel less isolated. Being near our pets can release serotonin and endorphins, as well as give us comfort. If you are struggling to find motivation or a reason to keep pushing forward, a pet can be just what you need. They will be there for you to love you no matter what, but they will also depend on you for their survival and well-being. Taking just a little time with your pet each day can allow you to reap many benefits, so don’t shy away from including your pet in any activity you enjoy, like bringing your dog on a hiking or camping trip. They keep us connected both to ourselves, and the world around us.
Pets can provide comfort to us, and offer the sort of unconditional love many of us crave. But as much as we gain from having them in our lives, they too can benefit from being cared for by a loving owner. Often, your pet will be with you their entire lives. Be prepared, do your research, and dive into what may be the best years of your life.