Is Your Pet Ruling Your Life? 

We all love our pets.  We would do anything for them. They are our companions and love objects.  We often give them the care we should give ourselves.  Yet we might be giving them too much attention and they may be running our lives too much. A few examples should help clarify the situation.

The first is in the area of expense.   Can you afford your pet, especially as s/he ages?  Will your income cover medical expenses?  Can you afford insurance for your pet?  Will you be able to make, and also live with, a decision to put your pet down?  Do you keep wanting to go through heroic efforts to save your pet?

The second is in terms of discipline.  Here you need to think about whether you have a dog or a cat or some other creature.  Do you teach your dog or trainable animal “manners?”  That means not jumping up on someone when s/he comes into your life.  It means not biting or growling too much.  (BTW, you can even train cats not to bite.)  You need to see your pet (or, as some people say, your social companion), as a pet, not as an extension of all the things you are not allowed to do but would like to do.

The third is in terms of deciding your schedule.  Does your animal cramp your style?  Do you often have to leave your animal alone, or with others caring for her or him?  Does the animal complement your work day?  Can you schedule walks and runs easily?  Does your animal need a lot of attention from you?

The fourth is in terms of food.  Most pets can eat most specifically prepared foods for that kind of animal.  Does yours need a specifically different (and expensive) diet served only in certain ways?  Are you “projecting” your food fantasies onto your pet? Just go look at the dog and cat food commercials and the variety of pet foods in the store.  The animal’s habits shouldn’t be equivalent to your life — get your own needs met and have your pet fit into them!

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