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  Trivia - do i need a pet

Yes, it has been clinically proven that having a pet is a great way for you to relax and de-stress. But have you ever thought about what actually goes on in a pet's mind? Even pets face a lot of trauma and stress if they do not get the appropriate amount of love, attention and care from their owners. So if you plan to get a pet soon, there are things you must consider before hand. Here's a checklist for you...

1. What's your lifestyle like?
Honestly, will you be able to make your pet a part of your lifestyle? If you're not talkative enough, will you be able to communicate with your pet? If you are messy, who will take care of pet hygiene? Hate going for a walk? Don't even think about getting a dog!

2. Got time?
Are you a working professional in a demanding job? Are you a homemaker and have your hands full managing your family and the household chores? If yes, do you think you can take some time out from your busy schedule to care of your pet? If the answer is NO, drop the idea of getting a pet.

3. Is your family ready for it?
Whether you like it or not, having a pet is a family affair. So before you get a pet, you must get the support of your family. Get a pet only if you think your family will also be able to give your pet their affection, love, time and care?

4. Got the money, honey?
Your pet comes at a price. So you need to carefully consider your financial situation before you go ahead and get a pet. Can you afford appropriate food for your pet, visits to the vet and other miscellaneous expenses that arise? If you can't, you might want to reconsider.

5. What about space concerns?
Your pet will need plenty of space to move around and some space of its own as well. So if you live in a small apartment, buying a dog of a large breed is not a great idea. Similarly, even if you decide to get a fish tank, it'll take up some amount of space, depending on its size. So before you go ahead and get a pet, make sure that space is not a concern for you.


Do pets have the healing touch? Well, animals tend to bring out our nurturing instinct. They also make us feel safe and unconditionally accepted. No matter what species of pet you have, you will feel the therapeutic benefit. It could be a dog, a cat, parakeet, a goldfish or anything else.

Here are some healthy reasons to have a pet:
• Senior citizens who are bogged down by stress problems and who have pets are better off health wise than those without pets.
• Pet owners have lower blood pressure. Researchers say those with a pet nearby during stressful encounters experienced half the increase in blood pressure as those who did not own a pet.
• Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than non-owners.

Recently Indian actress Raveena Tandon found an abandoned dog near her house. The dog carried a small note from his owner tied around its neck stating the owner could no longer take care of him. She was extremely infuriated with the whole situation as the dog was severely attacked by other strays following his abandonment by his owner. Meanwhile her intervention led to a number of people wanting to adopt the abandoned dog. Lucky chap! The dog got some well deserved justice as PETA came to his aid and rescued him.

Abandoning pets is a very common practice across the world. Every pet owner needs to understand that once canines or felines are groomed to live as a house pet, adapting to the roads as a stray is virtually impossible. Your pet will only be attacked / killed by other strays or will starve to death.

So what will you do if you ever come across an abandoned pet?

Be prepared to rescue: The next time you find an abandoned pet be a good samaritan and help the animal in need. Call up the local animal control centre, animal welfare officers, 24 hour veterinary clinic and other sources which can help you in your rescue operation.

Once you have taken the initiative, time, and trouble to rescue an abandoned animal you may be surprised to find that the rest of the pet care community may not necessarily rush forward to do what you see as its duty. But don’t get de-moralized, remember the pet has started relying on you.

How to approach an animal in need
• When you approach an abandoned dog/cat, it is obvious that he/she will be frightened and may behave unpredictably towards you. A sudden movement on your part is enough to frighten him and may attack you. First make sure to gain his faith just by putting forward your hand. Once he sniffs your hand, he will be more comfortable to share a friendlier bond with you.

• When approaching the dog, speak calmly to reassure him. Make sure he sees you at all times as you approach. Entice him to come with you by offering a strong-smelling food such as canned tuna or dried liver. Once he is relishing on the food you can direct him towards a safe place.

• As soon as you think the dog is in safe custody, call up the local animal hospital and inform them about the lost pet. If any of your friends or relatives are capable of handling a pet, call them for help. Be with the animal till you get a good collapsible dog crate, shelter him inside the crate and take him to a safe destination. You can choose to admit the abandoned animal into an animal hospital where proper care of the animal would be taken. Also lodge a police complaint to trace the owner of the pet.

• You can place an advertisement in the local newspaper. If the pet is lost and not abandoned, you may find the owner coming forward to claim the lost pet. Also you may find some prospective adopters for the pet. You may not be aware of the vaccination status, so immediately vaccinate the pet with anti-rabies and 7-in-1 serum.

• Good care is not cheap, and anyone who is committed to trying to save injured stray or abandoned animals should discuss these issues in advance with the veterinarian. To check on any relevant laws in your country, get in touch with the local animal control agency, NGO’s, or SPCA. They would be the best resources to help you out. Also you can lodge a police complaint against the owner who has abandoned his/her pet.

• Always keep euthanasia as the last option. Medical miracles are very common in the animal kingdom. You may be surprised to see a dog surviving from a dreaded accident or after a prolonged illness.

If you feel in your heart that you can rescue an abandoned pet, try your level best to save him/her. All your positive energy will work towards his/her betterment.

Pets are great folks to have around the place. They are wonderful companions and must be made a part of the family for more than one reason:

a. To start with, having a pet at home is a great stress buster. Pets at home means a more relaxed atmosphere which in turn ensures good health.
b. According to a survey conducted recently, pet owners report lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. One of the reasons for this is `walk’, yes, most pet owners have to walk their pets which means they also get the requisite exercise. Another reason for this is of course low stress level which in turn means low blood pressure and cholesterol level.
c. Thanks to pets who have the capacity to dissipate tension and ill-feelings, pet owners are known to recover faster from illnesses and surgeries

While most prefer pups as pet who are great as play mates and companions, some prefer the company of older, grown up dogs. Adopting an older dog is not as difficult as it may seem to be, one merely needs to bear a few points in mind before going in for adoption:

• Adult dogs serve make good guard dogs. Bear this point in mind while making a choice.
• Local vet is an ideal person who could help in the adoption process (s/he could be well versed with breeds that are up for adoption).
• News papers and animal societies like SPCA (Society for Prevention of Cruelty To Animals), IDA (In Defence Of Animals) etc are other good contact sources for adoption.
• Ensure that you have the dog's previous medical records. Vaccination status, deworming status and health records are important documents that one should procure before adopting the pet.

Do keep track of the dog's food habits as also his exercise routine. Follow them so your pet does not face acclimatization woes.
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