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Which Pet Should Your Family Adopt: Cat or Dog?

Which Pet Should Your Family Adopt: Cat or Dog?

Adopting a pet is a milestone for many families across America. In fact, almost 80 million households in the country own some type of pet, including a cat or dog. For many people, bringing an animal into the home is one of the most incredible moments of a lifetime.

But adopting a pet is not something that should be done on a whim. Bringing a living, breathing animal into your home is a huge responsibility. Be sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you make a decision that could negatively affect the rest of your new pet’s life.

For the purpose of this article, let’s take a look at what you’ll have to look forward to when adopting either of the two most popular pets in the US: dogs and cats.

Dogs

Our canine buddies come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but one thing is for sure: They really are man’s best friend. In fact, over 56 million households own at least one dog, making them the most common pet in America. And it’s no surprise why.

Dogs are incredibly loyal, and become emotionally attached to their owners. Though dogs understand humans are, in fact, not canines, they do think of their owners as members of their family. They’ll be just as excited to see you after a long day of work as any kid would be to see their mother or father.

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They’re also incredibly intelligent (despite some of the ridiculous situations they get themselves into). With time and effort, you can teach them to obey commands, and, of course, to do all sorts of fun tricks.

However, dogs are incredibly high maintenance animals in many different ways.

Dogs get used to a certain schedule, and they stick to it. Of course, this schedule is their own, and might not exactly jibe with your human timetable. If they’re used to going out to relieve themselves at a certain time, you better be able to let them out—or they won’t hesitate to leave a mess on your rug.

Speaking of messes, have you ever seen a dog wipe his feet after coming inside from the rain? They don’t. So, again, you need to be there with a towel to clean your buddy off before he tracks paw prints all over the house.

Most importantly, dogs require a lot of attention. I mentioned they are emotionally intelligent, which is a bonus when you need a friend to pal around with. But they can also be pretty needy (and nosy), especially during times when you might want to be left alone.

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Basically, owning a dog is like having a toddler—for twelve to fifteen years. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, but you should definitely know what you’re in for if you’re thinking of adopting a puppy.

Cats

Cats come second in popularity, with over 45 million households owning at least one feline friend. Not surprisingly, however, many of these households own more than one cat, since over 95 million belong to specific homes.

Many people tend to think a cat is a cat is a cat, but that’s simply not true. Much like their canine counterparts, cats differ greatly among breeds.

While each breed has its quirks, cats in general all come with similar pros and cons to be considered before bringing one home.

Unlike dogs, cats are pretty low maintenance animals. As long as they have food, water, and a place to do their business, they can be left alone all day—or even longer if need be.

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Well-nurtured cats are usually very affectionate and playful. Even when their claws come out during play, they likely won’t go into full attack mode unless they feel overtly threatened.

Amazingly, recent studies have shown cats’ purrs to be therapeutically beneficial to other animals around them. They may seem like lone wolf-type animals, but it seems cats do care about their owners in some way!

Of course, owning a cat isn’t all rainbows and cuddle sessions.

Though cats are playful, as mentioned, if they feel threatened, they can immediately get aggressive if they feel the need. This could lead to you or your children getting bit or scratched with fairly little warning.

Cats also shed constantly. Whether accommodating to fluctuating temperatures, or simply ridding their bodies of dead hair, cats seemingly never stop leaving clumps of fur around the house. They also don’t make it brushing them an easy process, either.

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And, of course, there’s the litterbox. If you have an indoor cat, be prepared to clean out their box at least once every two days—and even multiple times in a single day. If you neglect to do so, your little furry friend won’t think twice about using a different surface as their personal bathroom.

At any rate, cats are a great pet for those who don’t have the time for a dog, but still want an affectionate, individualistic pal to keep them company. Just remember: if you bring a cat into a home, the home belongs to them now.

Making a Decision

Clearly, a lot more goes into adopting a dog or cat than simply wanting one around. Adopting a pet can be a rewarding experience, but it can easily turn into a nightmare if you’re not careful. Think long and hard about what you really want out of a pet-owner relationship before you take on a responsibility you’re not ready for.

Featured photo credit: get a room, you guys by jeffreyw via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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