Who doesn’t want a puppy or a kitten, right? Who knows — your puppy could grow up to be the next Lassie, Rin Tin Tin or Old Yeller. He or she just needs a good loving home to explore their potential heroic nature.
A lot of us have been in the position of desperately wanting a puppy or kitten of our own and had to go through Mom and Dad first. I remember begging my heart out for a dog.
Now that I’m all grown up, I can tell you what would work on me if my son decided he wanted a puppy or kitten.
What Parents Worry About
The minute you say the word “puppy” or “kitten,” interesting things are happening in your parents’ brains. Reactions usually fall between incoherent mental screaming and stark, clear visuals.
While your parents stare at you wordlessly for those 10 seconds, images such as chewed-up shoes, soiled carpeting, tattered furniture and a second mortgage to pay for it all are running through their minds.
Stop and think about this for a minute — while a ripped-up couch arm may seem like no big deal to you, a new couch can run anywhere from $400 to $1,000 or more.
So you first have to ask yourself this question: If your parents are thinking about destruction, how can you assure them that you’ll be able to limit that destruction?
Limit the Damage
Come up with a plan — and impress your parents by writing it all out. Consider ways to minimize the destruction of property that your parents might have to pay for.
- Would your parents be opposed to installing baby gates during the housebreaking process?
- Is there a certain area of the house where your puppy or kitten could spend much of his time and still have the space to play freely?
- Is a den; a room in a heated, finished basement; or the kitchen available?
Next, think about the responsibility of getting a puppy or kitten. Pets depend on us for their wellbeing and welfare, and responsible pet caregivers meet those expectations constantly.
Many puppies need to burn a lot of energy to combat their playfully destructive behavior, which means lots of running around in the back yard or long walks or jogs. Kittens need to be played with, taught and handled so that they become accustomed to people.
Your pet will have to be fed, washed, groomed and taken outside if necessary several times a day. Consider the following:
- How will you work all of this into your schedule?
- Do you have after-school activities that take up some of your time?
- Are you willing to start waking up and getting out of bed a half-hour earlier than you normally do every morning?
This video features Percy the Labrador during his first week at home, and it’s a great example of what to expect with a new puppy:
Pets Cost Money — A Lot of Money
All pets require food and regular veterinary care. At first, you’ll spend money on toys and bowls and bedding — but it doesn’t stop there.
Vet visits will cost a few hundred dollars per year. Pet insurance is highly recommended.
In addition, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. Sometimes, completely by accident, pets get hurt or sick and need urgent medical care. This also can cost hundreds of dollars.
- How will you be able to help with this expense in the household?
- Are you willing to get a part-time job or do things around the house to take some of the burden off your parents?
Possible Deal Breaker: Pet Allergies
The deal breaker may be if you have an allergic parent or family member.
Allergic reactions range from mild sneezing to life-threatening reactions, and if your family member is someone who is violently reactive to your new pet, you probably aren’t going to convince your parents to get a puppy or kitten. (There are always furless options such as pet fish.)
Sure, you could try begging and begging and begging. That might work for some parents. Or you could print out an article like this one that points out the benefits of pets to children.
But the absolute best way to successfully convince your parents to let you have a new puppy or kitten is to prove to them that you are willing and able to step up and take on the responsibility.
You need to show them, not just tell them, that you have a plan to take care of your pet’s needs.
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