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Attention Deficit Disorder and Pet Ownership
My mother used to worry about how I would take care of a pet. People didn't use the term Attention Deficit Disorder back in those dinosaur days. I was "flighty," unfocused, or lazy. She didn't think that I had what it would take to nurture companion animals. Little did she know those 50+ years ago, I would develop a long track record of rescuing and caring for many animals. Over time, I learned to work around my Attention Deficit Disorder to do what it takes to care for the pets who depend on me.
If you are considering a pet, it is helpful to read about the pet that you are interested in. This will give you an idea of what their needs are. What type of personality does the animal have? Does it mesh with your personality? A pet, or companion animal, has needs other than taking care of the day-to-day physical necessities. Beyond food, water, and exercise, there is an emotional component. Parrots need stimulating toys and one-on-one attention. What happens if they don't get these things? It impairs them psychologically. Many parrots who don't have a stimulating environment become depressed or angry. They can pluck their feathers or mutilate their skin. Then, there's the screaming. They scream and screech at any opportunity. An unhappy parrot is not a great companion. Cats and dogs can be aloof or cuddly, depending on the breed and how they are socialized. Dogs, being pack animals, are much more social than most cats. What do you want from a companion animal? Do your research!
Consider the commitment of time. Larger breeds of dogs often have a shorter lifespan than smaller dogs. A cat can live to be 20-years-old. So can small parrots! Love birds and cockatiels often live to be 20. The larger parrots can actually outlive their human companions, so provisions need to be made to transition them into a loving household where the parrot knows people who live there.
Cost is a factor in pet care. Dogs, especially large dogs, benefit from schooling to help them learn how to behave. It's cute when a little puppy jumps up on you. However, when the dog grows up and weighs 50-100 pounds, it is no longer a delight to have that dog jump on you. Companion animals also need high-quality food. They need a place to sleep and toys to play with when they are awake. Medical care is important, too.
Find a vet before you have an emergency. Ask around or search the net for reliable veterinarians. The vet should be willing to listen to your concerns. You should be able to get an appointment in a timely manner. There should be procedures for emergencies. Find a vet that suits your companion animal's requirements. Birds need an avian vet. Each type of animal has its own routine medical care that you will be responsible for. Find out what your future pet will require.
So Attention Deficit Disorder does not get in the way of responsible care for your pet, establish daily care routines. What time and how much will you feed? When will you change the water? Having water is not enough; it needs to be fresh and clean. When will you exercise of play with your animal? Who will take care of your animal if you go out of town?
There are benefits to having a companion animal. Pet ownership isn't just about costs. Pets, especially dogs, can get you out and about. You exercise when they do! Having a charming dog can help you meet people, too. Cats can help lower blood pressure during stressful situations. Birds are endlessly interesting to watch and listen to. A fish tank can provide an oasis of calm in a busy life.
Pets are a huge commitment over a long period of time. When you take on "ownership" of a pet, you commit to caring for that creature's needs for its lifespan. Whether that is the 80+ years of a parrot or the two years for a hamster, that pet needs attention, kindness, food, and water for their lifetime. Are you ready? Don't let Attention Deficit Disorder get in the way of your interest in a pet. Do your research and make your plan. Then, enjoy the unconditional affection that a companion animal can provide for you.
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This content was written by Connie Mistler Davidson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Connie Mistler Davidson for details.
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