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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 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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