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Please tell me what grade you would give me.

Choosing a pet for my children

Pets can enrich the lives of my young children by teaching them compassion, responsibility, and understanding. However, choosing a pet for my children was stressful because I did not know where to begin. There were a few concerns I needed to consider before selecting a pet for my children.

First, how much space is available for a pet. Small pets, such as hamsters and gerbils are great for tight living spaces, as they only require enough room for cages. If your living quarters are cramped, adding a dog or cat into the household may be hard on family members.

Next was the responsibility of being a pet owner. My children can assist with the care of a pet but they are not able to do it without my guidance and supervision, so the primary responsibility of the animal care will fall on me. Dogs and cats have life spans of eight to 15 years depending on the breed. I must be prepared to go the distance. Too many animals end up in shelters because parents underestimate the time and commitment required to care for them. Dog's need more they need to be trained, exercised daily and socialized.

Then I had to consider my family budget. We could have adopted a dog or cat from a local shelter for a small amount of money, but you run into the risk of not knowing the history of the animal. A dog or cat will cause ongoing expenses like food, shelter, flea prevention and vet bills. Some dog breeds, such as poodles need to be groom frequently, which can become costly. Fish, gerbils and rabbits are inexpensive to maintain and are great for those on a shoestring budget.

I had to consider my children’s personalities when choosing a pet for them. No two children are alike. What may be a good pet for one child may be a bad choice for another. I needed to choose an animal that was best suited for all their personality. Fish, birds and reptiles are to be observing at all times. I have children that like to cuddle and touch; they need pets that enjoy affection. Hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and mice have short life spans, so have to say goodbye to their beloved pet shortly after it is acclimated into the household was not an option. A dog or cat, if cared for properly, can grow with my child and give him years of companionship this was an option. Gerbils, hamsters, rabbits and small dogs with mild tempers are excellent choices for children who are sensitive and are able to handle pets gently, was another option for me.

I had to consider health risks associated with the pet and my children, having that they suffer from allergies. I spoke to my children pediatrician before we purchased a pet. Reptiles can carry salmonella bacteria so was not recommend for my household. Dogs and cats can carry intestinal worms such as hookworms, roundworms and whipworms. These can be transmitting to my children if the animal is not properly treated.

The decision to add a pet to my household will not be rushed by me. I am taking my time to read about different kinds of pets before making my final decision.

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We don't give grades. Sorry...