Professor's House

Pet Ownership Should be a Mutual Decision

Are you in a relationship with an animal lover? Or perhaps, an animal hoarder? There are thousands upon thousands of people in this world who love animals so much that they never know when to say enough is enough. They take in the lonely stray cat that has been strolling around the neighborhood. Volunteer to take care of the baby bunnies the neighbor found in his or her yard while mowing grass. A homeless dog – won’t be homeless for long if they are ‘lucky’ enough to meet happen across this do-gooder who seems to have an endless supply of living space to share.

The problem is in a relationship, decisions such as owning a pet, bringing home a pet – and even what kind of pet to get – are things that should be made mutually. If you are going to bring animals in your home – you must talk about it first. After all, even just one pet – affects an entire household in many, many aspects of life. What if your partner or roommate, or parents don’t want a house full of dogs? What if the little schnitzel schnauzer mix isn’t the type of dog that your husband dreamt of walking in the park? Do you bring him home anyways, despite the fact that that your husband wanted a lab?

And what if, the constant introduction of new animals and more animals starts to get in the way of the ‘human’ relationships?

Just as couples should discuss other important matters that affect the everyday home life and the everyday routine – so should they discuss – beforehand – decisions about pets. If one person tends to put their admiration for all things ‘animal’ above the needs, wants, and desires of their personal relationships – they might at some point, find themselves alone.

Every day, in some Wal-Mart parking lot, there is a couple fighting over whether or not to bring home (a.k.a save) the worm infested mixed breed puppy that some man is trying to unload from the back of his truck. Yes, the puppy is cute. However, if you and your partner cannot come to a mutual decision about whether or not to partake in the thrills of puppy ownership, then the puppy is better off being put back in the box.

Owning a pet, or bringing one into your home shouldn’t be a snap, un-thought out decision based on one person’s simple desire. And begging, and pouting and making resentful comments because you didn’t get your way is a child-like response to a situation that involves a great deal of responsibility in the long run. Maybe your partner isn’t a dog lover; maybe they have a certain aversion or an allergy even, to hamsters or birds. Or maybe, just maybe – they don’t enjoy living in a home that is being taken over by animals. Regardless of why, bringing a pet in the home when you already know that your partner or loved ones don’t agree with the decision sets up a foundation for resentment and an endless stream of arguments that will certainly ensue over time.

Basically, it comes down to respect. When you share a home with someone – it is vitally important that you take his or her needs, wishes, and wants into consideration as well. You may have the best intentions in the world of saving every stray animal you find and helping find homes for needy animals. Your bleeding heart to protect, nurture and care for these animals doesn’t make you a bad person – unless of course, you do it with a no holds barred attitude of entitlement that goes against what the people in your life want. You should not make someone you live with or love feel guilty because they do not share your humanitarian efforts towards animals. Maybe your partner is just plain tired of sharing his or her bedroom with a stray mama cat and her 8 kittens that you could not bare to leave out in the cold? Isn’t it only fair to consider your partners feelings as well?

Just because the intentions are good and a heart is in the right place, does not mean that bringing home animals without discussing it first is the right thing to do. In fact, a loving and respectful relationship is one that is able to see both sides of a coin before it is flung in the air. If your loved one has told you, “no more,” pets – then maybe you should find another outlet to foster your love of animals. After all, while one person can make a difference – they certainly can save the world of animals today that need a home. Sacrificing your relationship to do so is definitely NOT a solution to the homeless animal problem and is certainly not serving your human needs either. And the bottom line is that the people you love – deserve to have a say so in the types and amounts of animals that are in the home.

Animals in the home should add solace, love, peace, and happiness. When they no longer do so, and begin to interfere with relationships, there is the potential for major relationship problems down the road – that can eventually become too much to survive. Animal ownership, like finances or the division of household duties – is something that should always be discussed prior to bringing home an animal and should be a subject area where compromise skills are used to settle differences.

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