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The Pros and Cons of Getting a Pet

The Pros and Cons of Getting a Pet

Getting a pet is no easy decision. Emotional perks are undeniable, yet pets require time, understanding, and training. Particularly if you have kids, it can be difficult to gauge when you are ready for a pet. We all want a cuddly, warm friend to come home too, but responsibilities and costs required to properly take care of your pets are real. Carefully considering the consequences of welcoming a new pet into your home can make all the difference in keeping your pet safe and happy (and keeping you sane). While drawbacks to having a pet may be challenging, if you properly prepare, getting a pet can be a smooth experience. The following pro and cons of having a pet will help you decide if you are ready to rise to the occasion.

Pros:

1. Increased Personal Safety

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    One definite positive to having a pet unfortunately only applies to larger, free roaming pets. Mainly in the case of dogs, pets can bring a degree of safety to your life. A barking dog scares away most home invaders, and medium to large sized dogs provide security on late night walks. However, even smaller dogs, cats, and exotics have alerted their owners to approaching dangers like fire or gas leaks. When considering whether or not to get a pet, don’t forget that your new family member could be a crucial element in keeping you safe.

    2. Receiving Love 

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      No matter what kind of pet you get, you are sure to experience increased joy and love. Pets have a way of calming us down, and playing our heartstrings in a way that nothing else can. Pets can do a lot for helping you out of slumps and turning around a bad day.

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      3. Learning Patience 

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        Particularly when it comes to younger pet owners, having a pet can teach us valuable lessons. Training your pet can be a lesson in patience, while treating your pet well can help children learn how to be gentle and understanding. 

        4. Pets Empathize with You 

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          Another positive to getting a pet is having a family member who will always empathize with you. Regardless of what pet you get, most larger pets can sense when we are feeling under the weather or have had a bad day. Having something to cuddle with that genuinely cares that you feel better is a huge boost on those less than perfect days.

          5. Improved Mental Health

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            Having a pet is also a powerful way to keep yourself mentally functional. Across the board, pets of all types have proven to improve the health of patients with mental health challenges. From treating those with post traumatic stress disorder, to helping those who struggle with depression, pets are a helpful addition to combat a range of disorders. Not only do these findings bring hope to those with health challenges, it also means that every day anxiety and stress can be greatly decreased by spending time with your pet.

            6. Saving an Animal from a Shelter

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                Finally, another major positive if you’re looking at adopting a shelter pet is the knowledge that you saved a life. Dogs, cats, and other animals in animal shelters are usually tame, and sometimes even trained. By adopting an animal thats been abandoned, you are giving a good home to a living thing, plus making room at overcrowded shelters. Unsurprisingly, pet owners who adopt animals from shelters often speak to the animals undying loyalty and joy at being adopted.

                Cons:

                1. Responsibility

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                  One drawback of getting a pet is an immediate increase in responsibility. Just like a young child, pets rely on you for absolutely everything. Not only that, if they have yet to be trained, they won’t understand your anger if they do something wrong. If you are someone with an over scheduled life, or doubt your children’s ability to step up to this responsibility, a small pet like a hamster or mouse might be a better first step.

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                  2. Allergies

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                    Another drawback to pets in the home are allergies. Especially if you don’t know what you’re allergic to, bringing a cat or a dog into your life can bring unexpected hurdles. Keep in mind that allergies grow worse each time you are exposed to an allergen, so spending limited time with animals in the past is not conclusive proof you aren’t allergic. If you’re unsure of your animal allergies, pet sitting for a friend or spending time volunteering for an animal shelter might be something you want to try first.

                    3. Possible Safety Hazards

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                      Another important consideration when getting a pet is whether or not the animal in question brings more hazards to your life. A pet might be a fine addition for families with young kids, however a large breed of dog for example, will require extra attention and training to make sure it is safe around children. Similarly, aggressive types of snakes or territorial pets may not be the best addition if you have dependents living with you. It is important to consider the needs of everyone in your house before getting a pet.

                      4. Cost

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                        Unfortunately, another drawback to having pets is a necessary evil. Just like humans, animals need to be healthy and happy. Before you get a pet, consider the average yearly veterinary cost of owning the type of animal you are looking at. Cats and dogs for example, require several different shots throughout their first year of life, as well as preventative shots and treatment throughout their lives. Additionally, outdoor pets are more prone to infections, lacerations and pest infestations that require veterinary care. Even if your animal never has a major accident, every animal will require you to pay for basic veterinary care to have a healthy and fulfilled life.

                        5. Poop

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                          There’s no getting around it – no matter what kind of animal you get, you will be required to clean up after them. Make sure you have a solid stomach when it comes to removing poop if you want a positive pet experience.

                          6. Schedule Disorder

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                              Finally, remember that bringing a pet home means you will sometimes be at the mercy of their schedule. Cats for example, are naturally nocturnal, and are likely to find their way on top of you while you try to sleep. Similarly, dogs, birds, and many exotic animals will sometimes feel the need to make as much noise as possible in the middle of the night. Be prepared to take on these challenges when you decide it’s time for a pet, and your transition into pet ownership will be much smoother.

                              Featured photo credit: raneko via flickr.com

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                              Alicia Prince

                              A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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                              Last Updated on December 2, 2019

                              10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

                              10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

                              Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

                              In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

                              These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

                              1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

                              Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

                              But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

                              Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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                              2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

                              You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

                              The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

                              3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

                              If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

                              Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

                              If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

                              4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

                              Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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                              To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

                              In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

                              5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

                              We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

                              If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

                              Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

                              “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

                              6. Give for the Joy of Giving

                              When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

                              One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

                              So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

                              7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

                              Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

                              Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

                              8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

                              When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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                              So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

                              9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

                              Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

                              It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

                              It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

                              10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

                              There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

                              But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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                              Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

                              More About Living a Fulfilling Life

                              Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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