Chapter 1
How To Know If A Dog Is A Good Choice Of A Pet

What If A Dog Is Not Right For You?

Sometimes, given your current situation, a dog is simply not a good choice for you. If you recognize you are in this situation, congratulations! The reason you should be congratulated is you now know a dog is not a good choice for you and you have made a wise decision. However, you may be a little bit frustrated because you wanted a pet and all you know is what won't work. You may not know of any pet that would be a good choice for your situation. This is especially true if the reason you were thinking about getting a dog was to be a child's pet. Even though you now know a dog would not be a good choice of a pet for your lifestyle, you still have a problem if you were considering a dog in response to a child's plaintiff plea of "Mommy... Daddy... can we get a dog? Can we get a dog please, please, please can we get a dog". Rather than leave you feeling like you learned only what wouldn't work and let you leave empty-handed and disappointed, let me make a suggestion. Substitute. Offer to exchange a dog for another pet that would be a better choice for you and your family. This substitution could be for one of many options depending on your particular situation. Other possibilities for a "warm furry" pet may include any of the animals from the following list: • gerbil • hamster • ferret • guinea pig • rabbit • cat None of these pets take the time, space, or in most cases, the expense required by a dog. Other pets that do not have the "warm fuzzy" quality to them include an aquarium which can become the focal point of an entire room. Additional options include amphibians, a turtle for example, or reptile. Possible choices in a reptile could be one of a number of small lizards including a "chameleon", bearded dragon, geckos, and iguanas. In addition to these reptiles would be a range of snakes. For some people, the animals in the reptile category are out of consideration because of what I will call the "creep factor". They just can't bring themselves to accept a reptile as a pet. If you are one of these people, it's OK- relax. There is still one more group of animals to consider- birds. A parakeet, together with a reasonable cage, costs less to purchase than all but the most inexpensive dog and is much less expensive to maintain on a monthly basis. Other birds you can think about are finches, although some of these are expensive, canaries, who have the added benefit of having beautiful songs, and a cockatiel. For those who have a more serious interest in birds, you can research lovebirds and conures. Only the most dedicated bird enthusiast should consider cockatoos, African grey parrots, longtail parrots, and macaws.