You love animals. If you didn’t you probably wouldn’t be reading this page. Should it be the majesty of a wild tiger, the beauty of a humming bird or the cuteness of playing puppies, animals constantly inspire, thrill, comfort and amuse us. Of course, for most of us, our principle interaction with animals comes from our contact with pets, and the social, physical and psychological benefits to humans of pet guardianship are well established. But this a two-way relationship. How do we ensure that the animal also benefits? Are you really in a position to be a responsible pet carer? You will have to adapt to its needs; it is much less able to adapt to yours. For example, do you live alone and work long hours? To leave a dog alone in a flat, unwalked and under-stimulated, is not fair. Do you travel a lot? Who will look after the animal when you are away? If your flat is small is it really a good idea to have a large breed dog that requires space and exercise? Do you have an elderly person in your home that could be knocked over by a large bouncy dog? Do you have a family member that is allergic to rabbits? Are you aware of, and are you willing to shoulder the feeding and preventative medical costs involved in looking after a dog or cat? Do you know that some dog and cat breeds are susceptible to serious genetic problems and there can huge expenses involved in trying to deal with them? Do you think it is cruel to buy a short-nosed dog or cat and so encourage the breeding of animals that will suffer throughout their lives with breathing difficulties or deformed joints just because they ‘look cute’? Do you have a cat or a terrier-type dog that would terrify your new hamster or chinchilla? Will you be staying in the country for the foreseeable future, and are you willing and able to bear the (considerable) costs of bringing the animals with you should you emigrate? Do you know the strict environmental conditions and feeding requirements of terrapins and other chelonians? Do you know how much hard work and money goes into maintaining a tropical fish tank? Have the fish been harvested by poisoning or dynamiting a coral reef somewhere? Are you sure that the exotic pet you have always desired is legal and captive bred and not done at the cost of environmental degradation and species endangerment? The list goes on.
Welfare societies and Government agencies in Hong Kong are snowed under with unwanted, abandoned and surrendered animals that people have bought and given up because they found they were completely unprepared for the level of commitment required. Many of these animals are euthanised because there is too much demand for limited resources. Do not add to the problem. If possible, alleviate the problem and adopt rather than buy. But the important thing is not to get a pet with proper preparation. Never ‘Impulse Buy’ under any circumstances. Stop. Think. Research. Prepare. Adopt if possible. If you do the chances of both you and your pet have a long and beautiful experience together will be so much greater.
If you need advice on any of this do not hesitate to call the clinic. We would be so happy to discuss any of this with you!