Ask yourself several questions when deciding which pet might be the right one for you.
The first question is obvious. Why do you want a pet in the first place?
Maybe to keep you company or add some spice to your life? You think a pet would be great to have and cuddle with? It could liven up your home.
When you get past this first step and know why you want a pet, do you know how much time you intend to spend with your pet?
Some time, most of the time, maybe all of your spare time.
Do you want a pet that will greet you at the door every time you come home? Some of you may like it, while others think it's not necessary.
I know I like it. No matter what kind of day you had, it is great to be met with a wagging tail and a few licks.
Does it matter what gender your pet is? Same as you, different from you or does it really matter?
Would you want your pet around you all the time, day or night? It could be good to have a pet as a close companion and maybe at your feet and in your lap all the time, while some of you may not like a pet that close because you may not want to step on or trip over your pet, or you value your own space.
How about a name for your pet?
Would a simple name fit or a common pet name like everyone else?
Are you ready to make a commitment to a pet or are you only interested when it is convenient for you?
If you haven't thought it over, you need to before taking on a pet.
Maybe you are ready, and maybe you're not, yet.
Pets require a lot of responsibility.
How much responsibility do you want to take for your pet? As much as it takes, some, a little, a lot, even as much as your pet needs?
Think about where you live.
Do you live in a home, an apartment, at your parents' house, a farm or a ranch? How big is your yard or do you even have one?
Where you live is very important when considering the size and type of pet you may be interested in.
Do you have expensive and fragile things in your home?
What about free time? Are you very busy all the time, sometimes, or do you even have any time for a pet?
Do you want to look for a dog or cat, male or female, big or small? Active or not active, in your lap or not, long hair or short hair, young or older.
What matters and what really doesn't matter?
Whatever you decide, know that a pet is a lifelong commitment. They depend on you. They will always provide you with unconditional love ... a lifetime of love.
Once you decide on a pet, I am sure you will be able to find just the one (or more) you have dreamed about right here at Manatee County Animal Services. Be sure to visit both of our adoption centers, one in downtown Bradenton and the other in Palmetto.
Call 941-742-5933 for more information or look on our website at mymanatee.org/pets for an up-to-date list of all the dogs and cats available. We hope to see you soon.
Watch for more upcoming events and adoption specials. Don't forget the ongoing BOGO special, where you can adopt a dog or cat at the regular adoption fee and get a dog or cat for no adoption fee. Also, any dog or cat that has been in the shelter more than 60 days is available for no adoption fee.
Check out Manatee County Animal Services on Facebook. Like us and share us with all your friends. Our web site at mymanatee.org/pets has a wealth of information, including your new family member for adoption.
Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Herald.