When people buy a home, they're thinking about the family that will live there. Maybe it's time to have children and for many new homeowners, the first addition to the family is a pet. In fact the ability to have a dog has a big influence on first time home buyers who remember the pets at home when they were growing up.
Pets are a wonderful addition to a family. They're cute, lovable and more than anything, they give their love unconditionally to each and every family member although they might have a favorite. While many adults might think they need a pet for their children, pets also fill a void for people without children, young and old.
If you've got a dog or cat, you're not alone. Sixty-three percent of US households have a pet — 39% own at least one dog and 33% have at least one cat and yes, lots of families own multiple pets. My husband and I grew up with dogs so we've had one ever since we bought our first house and once our boys got older, we added at various times — fish, birds, a guinea pig and a rabbit.
Pets at Home are Considered Family Members
Do you consider your pets to be an integral part of your family? If you said yes, you're like most families with more than 50% of families considering their dogs or cats like a child or other family member. So lets dig deeper (no, we're not going to bury any bones) and look at the benefits pets provide, and then a quick look at how we need to support them (as this website is all about our homes and getting the most out of life).
What Pets at Home Do For Us
Companionship – More than anything, pets provide company when no one else is home or sometimes you just want to be alone, and snuggling up with your cat or dog is comforting. Coming home to an empty house isn't fun so knowing you've got company can change your entire experience at home. Most pets will love you unconditionally, so knowing there's someone there to spend time with is comforting and needing to walk the dog means you're getting exercise too.
Compassion – Pets are great when it comes to teaching our children compassion. They're able to see the dog or cat slink away when mistreated and also, sense that their pet knows when they're having a tough time. When I got sick at school and had to take the bus home alone, I always looked forward to getting into bed with my beagle curled up around my legs.
Responsibility – What better way to teach responsibility to children than to have them fulfill the role of feeding the cat or walking the dog, and planning time away from home if you can't take your pets with you. Having a pet in your household teaches responsibility better than almost anything else, because it's real versus television, and right in front of your children where they can visualize what might happen if they don't do something.
Laughter – Our lives are busy and we don't take enough time to slow down and … smell the roses. When we get home from a busy day at work or school, our pets give us a reason to slow down and give them a nice rub. Our pets are living on our roller coaster so they're able to connect with us in fun ways that can make us smile or even better, laugh. Laughter is something we're missing in our chaotic lifestyles today, so family pets are a wonderful way to bring more of that back into our lives.
What Our Pets Need From Us
You've got to start with your pet's basic needs — food, water and health checkups. They also crave lots of attention and remember the more love you give them, the more they're going to give back to you. In my condo, we've got a dog bed on each of 3 floors (2 home offices) so our chocolate lab can keep us company wherever we are.
With respect to your house, you've got to consider how you'll provide exercise for your pet, plus the bathroom? Cats are easier to handle with cat litter — space to store fresh litter, litter tray and disposal. With dogs it's more complicated as family members will have to walk your dog several times a day or you'll need a fenced in yard with a dog door (learn more about dog doors).