Guest Blog by Jessica Brody, Our Best Friends
People struggling with addiction often lack the confidence or communication skills to form relationships with other people. By no means is this always the fault of the person in recovery. Our society stigmatizes those with special challenges, even though blind prejudice rather than fact underlies most of these misperceptions.
Acceptance and love from a faithful companion.
Comfort and happiness from positive interactions.
Stress reduction that leads to lower blood pressure.
Encouragement to exercise and to spend more time outside.
Motivation to recover from illnesses and other challenges.
Of course, choosing a pet requires thought and preparation. In this post we'll focus on the things you should consider when taking this important step. These tips will help to ensure both you and your new friend have many happy times together.
What to Know about Adopting a Dog
Dogs are, along with cats, by far the most popular choice of pet in American households. Dogs enjoy human companionship and adapt readily to most environments so long as they get plenty of love and proper treatment. Please remember, though, that dogs differ in terms of personality, energy level, and personal care needs. Here are some ways to choose the right pup for your home:
Adopt a dog from your local animal shelter rather than from a pet shop. These animals need and appreciate kindness and loving care. Plus, adoption fees are, in most cases, lower than retail costs for store-bought animals.
Observe the dog's behavior. Is she shy or outgoing? Is she full of energy or sedate and low-key? Choose a animal who matches your situation and personality. If you have kids, then bring them to the shelter with you and see how they get along with the dog you're considering.
Dogs with short hair and short ears require less upkeep than shaggy ones with floppy ears. Knowing this can save you money on vet and grooming bills.
Dogs are great for motivating you to maintain a daily routine. It might be tempting to snooze the alarm to get a little extra sleep before work, but if you have a dog that needs to be walked, you’re obligated to get up and get your day started. All dogs require daily exercise, either a walk or active playtime.
Choosing a Cat for Your Home
Cats get a lot of flack in our culture, most of it undeserved. Yes, they are often a little more aloof than dogs. But they're just as capable of forming loving bonds with their owners as their canine counterparts. Plus, they're easier to care for than most dogs, which can spare you a lot of aggravation. Here are some tips for choosing a feline friend:
As with dogs, choosing a cat from a shelter is your best bet. These animals need a good, loving home like yours.
Spend some time with the cat to see how she reacts to your presence. Does she let you hold her without making a fuss? Does she purr when you pet her? These are good signs that the two of you will hit it off over the long term.
Kitties are adorable and entertaining. But they can also test your patience with their constant curiosity and antics. Keep this in mind if you're considering adopting one.
Whatever animal you choose, please remember to give it the attention and care it needs. Bringing a pet into your home is a big responsibility. But it also offers great rewards. So enjoy the experience; you and your new friend have lots of good times ahead.