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Finding the right pet for your family

By Jane Canfield

This is Murphy.

He’s got a good pair of peepers doesn’t he?

They say that eyes are the window to the soul. Well, here’s a pair of eyes that will bore right through you.

Poor Murphy. Like thousands upon thousands of unwanted animals in this country, Murphy needs a home. He’s special. He has special needs. But aren’t they all special in their own way? So how do you decide which pet is for you? If you are a responsible human being you will do some research. Many of us don’t look at ourselves when choosing a pet, but that is often the most important place to begin. So, let’s start with YOU.

The first question to ask yourself is what sort of pet do I need? What is your lifestyle like? Are you a family?  Single? Small kids? No kids? Other pets? Do you go away a lot? If so, what would you do with ’THE PET’?’ Can you afford the vet bills? If you have an ‘unruly pet’, can you afford professional advice such as training? And that’s for you AND your pet. We all know it! We’ve all done it. Have you time to spend with your pet? A pet left alone or constantly chained is just not right. Like us, they get lonely and bored. Do you want low maintenance? For example, long coated breeds need clipping and extra care or life is a misery for them.

So now you’ve gone through the basics, but you still need to decide on a pet. Dog? Cat? Goat? Guinea pig? Chicken? Mouse? Ferret. Shall I go on?!

Even if it’s easy and you know what sort of pet you want, there are still questions to be ask. If you’ve settled on ‘dog’ for instance, you then need to consider some of the following questions:

What sort of ‘dog’? They come in multiple varieties. And like us, multiple personalities. And sizes.

Do you have a large garden or small? Is it fenced? Friends who have put a lot of effort into a good fence, are finding their hounds are determined to act like Houdini and escape from whatever shackles they place around their garden. Wire. Tall fences. Blockades, big gates. Teenagers. It is fixable but it takes, time, effort and MONEY.

Dogs dig. Dogs climb. Dogs crawl and they can be very determined. It really does put a new spin on the ‘grass is greener’. I had a friend who’s dog could climb a tree and regularly hopped the fence. It was not until ‘dog-cam’ was introduced they worked out how he did it.

So if it’s Murphy (who by the way is still waiting for LOVE at the Blue Mountains Volunteer RSPCA Shelter) or a mouse. Please make sure you are a responsible owner and do your research. Pets are for life. (Theirs not yours.)

For more info and others like him go to or phone the Blue Mountains Shelter in Katoomba 122 –125 Mort Street Katoomba. T 4782 2647. 122 –125 Mort Street Katoomba.

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