My daughter has been asking for a pet ever since the day she could say “dog.” And I think she has been asking every day since then. (Just for your information, dog was her first word following momma and dadda.)
It’s not surprising that she wants a pet. We are the odd military family without a dog, cat, gerbil or turtle. Every other family in our neighborhood has a dog. Heck, even the Marine Corps has a dog. I’m kind of obsessed with Chesty.
But as a child, I never had a dog. I don’t know how to train one, so I certainly don’t know how to pick one. Boston terrier or bloodhound? Which one would be a better fit for my family? Honestly I have no idea. Until I used Purina’s Breed Selector. This interactive online questionnaire walks you through a series of questions that can help identify the best dog breed for your family.
For example, do you want a dog that is good with children? Yes, please. Then a collie would be a good fit for your family. Want one that doesn’t bark? You should consider a pug. Want a dog to be your running buddy? Then you will love the active nature of a boxer.
Here 3 more things to consider when choosing a family pet.
Primary Pet Care Giver. We all know that a family pet is a member of the family, but the daily care of this animal generally falls on 1 individual in the house. If that person is Dad and Dad is deployed, then you may want to wait to get a pet. If there’s a newborn in our house, Mom is too preoccupied to care for a dog right now. But a cat may be a nice low maintenance addition to your family. If that primary pet care giver is your 10-year-old son and this is his first pet, ease him into it. Choose an animal that doesn’t require a lot of daily responsibility.
Your Current Schedule. Looking for your current schedule, are you home during the day or are you at work? Would this animal be alone all day? Or would he have a house of kids to play with? Do you like to take weekend getaways? Ask yourself these questions and be realistic. I once had a neighbor whose husband worked long hours and she liked to go out with her girlfriends on the weekends. Hence, her puppy spent a lot of time alone in the backyard. Is that what you want for your pet?
PCS-Friendly Pet. As a military family, you are most likely going to move. And you may move overseas. Think about the logistics of getting your furry friend to your new duty station. If you’re moving to Germany or Hawaii, that can be an extra expense that you want to budget for during your PCS. If you moving from Virginia to Washington State, you need to stay at pet-friendly hotels with Fido. Obviously this isn’t a deal breaker (because many military families have pets), but like everything else in a PCS, you need to plan for it.
Pets are a special part of our families and unlike the rest of our family members, we get to choose them. Take the time to pick a pet that fits with you, your needs and your family’s lifestyle. You’ll be happy you did your research during the first few months of pet ownership.