Finding the Right Pet for Your Lifestyle!


Choosing the Right Pet for Your Lifestyle

It’s one thing to ooh and aaah over your next door neighbor’s new puppy or curl up with a kitty at your friend’s house. But when it comes to adopting one of your very own, thoughts like "Do I have time for this?" may stop you from making that commitment.

Luckily, there’s an ideal opportunity to have your own pet out there for just about anyone who has the room in their heart. Even given individual time constraints, living environments, and personal preferences. Prospective guardians all have the potential to find a match made in heaven. Andrea Crawford of Portland Tails pet magazine had these handy tips to help you find the right pet to fit your lifestyle.

If you have are around home a lot but very busy what would be the best pet for you?

A cat or an older dog that no longer needs a lot of exercise would be a great pet in this situation. They will both still need attention but will not require you to physically get them out of the house. There are rescue groups out there for just about every breed of dog and cat that have great animals for you to adopt. Also, the Humane Society always has many great older pets in need of homes.

You are a high energy person that has always wanted a running partner and playmate. What would be a great pet for you?

If you are looking for a pet that can go running, hiking and to the park with you every day, consider adopting a Labrador Retriever, a Pit Bull or most any energetic larger breed dog. Just keep in mind working dogs need a lot of exercise and mental challenge to keep them happy, trainable and fit. Contrary to all the bad press they get Pit Bulls make great pets. They are just as loving and loyal as any other dog raised in a loving home. There are an abundance of Bullies available at rescues and shelters. Remember if you are adopting a puppy you must be prepared for training the puppy to live by people rules. Puppies come knowing all the dog rules; we need to teach them how to live by people rules. This takes a lot of time, love and patience. Whether you decide to adopt a puppy or an older dog, take some time to research the breeds you are interested in to be sure you understand the needs of that breed. Find a rescue group or visit the Humane Society to adopt and you are ready.

You really want a pet but you are a single person working two jobs. Is there a pet for you?

Of course there is. Keep your heart open to species other than cats and dogs. There are many different species that can absolutely bond with you and make great pets. Hamsters, guinea pigs, rats and rabbits all make great pets. While some people may have an issue with rats and their tails, rats are extremely intelligent. As intelligent as dogs some say. They are gentle, clean and unlike many small rodents that are skittish around people, rats like human attention and will become very attached to you. Rats can learn their name and will come when called. They can even learn tricks. Rats are very social and should always be kept in at least a pair. Rabbits also make great pets and can be litter box trained. Rabbits are clean, docile and intelligent animals that will become attached to you as well. Rabbits are also very social creatures that need companionship. Rabbits can be neutered and spayed. If you do decide to adopt one of these animals make sure you get two of the same sex so you don’t end up with more of them than you intended. Also, try to adopt pairs that are accustomed to living together, or are young enough to adjust to one another. Before you bring one of these animals into your home do your research to be sure you fully understand their needs.


You really want a pet but are allergic to dogs, cats and most anything with fur. What kind of pet would be good for you?

There are breeds of both dogs and cats that are supposedly less likely to affect allergy sufferers. There is controversy as to actually how hypo-allergenic these breeds are. There are too many of the dog breeds to cover here and the few breeds of cats I have found through my research are very expensive. If you do have pet allergies I would suggest actually spending some time with one of these breeds to see how you are affected before adopting one. Or, consider a bird as a pet. Birds make great pets. They have the ability to completely bond with you. Birds come in all shapes and sizes with very different requirements. All bird species will develop a relationship with you. If you have little time to spend with your bird think about finches or canaries that will not require as much attention from you. If you have a lot of time and energy to devote to your bird consider a Cockatiel, Budgie or Parrot. The more intelligent the bird the more attention and mental stimulation it will require. When choosing a species that will best suit you remember to consider the lifespan of the bird. Many birds have life spans of 50 or more years. These birds will often bond so deeply with you that a change of home and guardian can be quite traumatic for them. Be sure you know how you will provide a good home for your bird for its entire life span. Just as you would with any other animal be sure to research the variety of bird you are interested in. Make sure you understand their nutritional requirements as well as the amount of mental stimulation and companionship they will need.

You really want a pet but aren’t sure you can make the commitment required for a couple of years.

Think of volunteering for a shelter or rescue group. Whether you help walk the dogs for a few hours on a weekend or assist with grooming and cage cleaning you can still get your "fur fix" and give some deserving animals lots of love in the process. Another idea that may work for you is fostering an animal. Many shelters have foster-care programs that need individuals or families who can make short term commitments to care for pets in their homes until they can be adopted to their permanent homes.

You are an apartment dweller so you are thinking you shouldn’t have a dog.

Its true dogs and cats love to have plenty of room to roam. That doesn’t mean you need to wait until you move to a ten acre farm to have a pet. As long as the property owner or manager allows pets and as long as they aren’t too noisy almost any kind of pet can live in an apartment. Thinking that only small dogs can live in an apartment is absolutely false. As long as you have the time and commitment to make sure that you fulfill the mental and physical needs of the type of pet you are considering adopting they will be fine. A Great Dane can live comfortably and quite happily in an apartment so long as he or she gets enough time walking and playing outside every day.

Please remember to adopt, not shop, when looking for your pet. There are rescue groups for most any type of pet you wish to adopt regardless of the species. There are also animals of many species at the Humane Society waiting for a home. You can find a complete list of rescue groups in the Portland Tails magazine. The magazine is free and can be found at about 1000 locations throughout the city. If you would like to have the magazine delivered to your place of business or have questions for me, Andrea Crawford, email me at


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