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animal house living with pets
by Rebecca Pedlow
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Whose heart doesn't go just the slightest bit gooey at the sight of kittens and puppies in the windows of a pet store? As you peer longingly at their eager little faces, the thought creeps into your head that maybe, just maybe, you could get yourself a cute little pet of your own. After all, how much trouble could something so small be?

Sure, having a pet means you'll never want for company again, but if you think the hardest part of becoming a pet-owner is deciding whether to go home with that sweet Lab mix or the too-cute-for-words beagle, think again. Be prepared for some compromises in your previously easygoing lifestyle. After a death in the family two years ago, I inherited two elderly cats. Don't get me wrong: I love them both, but there's no getting around the fact that their arrival signified the end of the responsibility-free existence my fiancé and I had previously enjoyed. As you consider whether you're really ready to adopt a pet, here are a few points to contemplate…

where are you living?
First things first: if you happen to rent your digs, be sure to check that your landlord or building manager is willing to accept animals, and if so, which animals are acceptable. Once you've determined that you really could get yourself a pet without violating your rental agreement, take a good, hard look at how much room you actually have, and whether there's enough for you and the pet to share. Be willing to compromise -- no matter how much you adore the breed, you can't have a German Shepard in an apartment building.

Also consider where you are likely to be living in the future. One of my cats, Bella, is powering along towards her 19th birthday, so a pet really is for a big chunk of your life. Remember that an animal will limit your future residency options, as many rental places are absolutely adamant about no pets, and moving house with pets makes an already complicated process even harder. If you have any plans to live overseas in the future, for instance, having a pet might put a damper on that particular fantasy.

keep on skedaddling folks!


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