Saturday, 29 January 2011

Responsible Pet-Ownership

In the year of the bunny, do the bunnies a favour and DO NOT BUY ON IMPULSE!!

I get very upset every time people buy hamsters, bunnies and dogs as pets in rat, rabbit and dog years respectively. Pet shops cash in on the "auspicious-ness" of these animals and people buy them on impulse because the animals "look cute".

The fact is, ALL FURRY ANIMALS LOOK CUTE. and ALL BABY ANIMALS LOOK CUTE. just like babies... all babies look cute but some grow up into really horrible people.

Before you get a pet, think of the following:

1. Can you commit to looking after the pet FOR LIFE? for dogs, that's about 15 years, for bunnies, it's about half. it's like when you want to adopt a child, you don't adopt and after a few months say, "erm... sorry..., we changed our mind, can give back?" for couples without kids, think about whether you will still be able to look after your pet when your children arrive. if not, do not get the pet in the first place.

2. Are you willing to pet-proof your home? just like when you have kids, you need to baby-proof your home. bunnies like bite wires and eat plants. cats like scratch leather... or scratch anything. dogs like to bite shoes. and if you have a cat, you may have to put window grilles otherwise they may crawl to the neighbour's house... haha

3. Can you provide a comfortable home for your pet? for dogs, it means space to run... for cats, it's space to roam or lounge. for bunnies, they need space to run too and they LOVE to run and jump! some people think bunnies can be kept in a cage. if you do intend to, pls make sure the cages are large enough. I was really upset and pissed to see these pictures of an exhibition in suntec city. the poor bunnies hardly have space to stretch! it's like you living in your bomb shelter... but wait, some people make their domestic helpers sleep there... and bunnies do not have padded paws like dogs and cats so standing on wired flooring for prolonged periods of time causes a condition called sore hogs. you just imagine yourself standing barefoot on a wire mesh ALL THE TIME you will know what i mean.

4. Do you have the resources to care for your pet? i.e. buy food, vaccinations, vet visits when they're sick etc. note that each visit to the vet is not cheap. it's almost like seeing a specialist doctor.

5. Do you have the time to care for and play with your pet? you will need to not just feed the pet but also clean up their poo poo and pee pee. pets can be toilet-trained, including bunnies. you need to walk the dog at least once a day (and YOU should do it, not your helper).

6. Can you accept whatever the pet comes with? yes, the pet is very cute but bunnies will molt i.e. drop fur EVERYWHERE and deposit their faecal pellets here and there. can you accept that you need to eat and breathe dog, cat, bunny fur? it's on your clothes, on your furniture. there isn't an inch of your house without fur. if you have allergies, i suggest you don't get a furry pet. pets can be mischievous so are you willing to train it? and the cute pet will one day grow old and get sick. can you take care of it?

1. read up material to prepare yourselves. just like if you want to have a kid, you read material, go for seminars etc. before you have a baby right?
2. talk to people who have pets.
3. prepare the home for the pet before buying it.

1. give a pet as a present. a pet comes with lots of responsibilities.
2. buy a pet as a "token of your love" when you're dating. cos when you break up, who's gonna care for the pet?
3. buy a pet for your kid as a reward or because s/he thinks it's cute, insists, cries and wails at the pet shop etc. or worst, BECAUSE IT'S CHEAP... hamsters cost only about $15 each so parents don't think twice about buying them. bunnies are much cheaper than dogs. kids are kids. once the novelty wears out, the parents are left to take care of the pet and as most parents are, they're busy so the sad truth is many such animals get abandoned or worse, die of hunger or diseases due to utter neglect.
4. "let your pet free". the chinese think it's 放生. i call it ABANDONMENT. domesticated animals CANNOT survive in the wild. a bunny out there is food to predators. when you adopt a child, you don't go and change your mind and say "why don't we let the girl/boy free" and leave him/her in a park...

and yes, DO NOT buy on impulse.