Bringing a Pet Home for the First Time
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Bringing a Pet Home for the First Time

Bringing home a pet for the first time is a momentous decision. Your life is about to change tremendously - and maybe permanently - which doesn’t happen every day. Here are a few tips on how to make a smooth transition to a life with pets.

By the Numbers

The most popular pets in the United States by percentage of household are dogs. By sheer numbers, fish surpass every other pet, since most homes that have fish have more than one. Other pets high on the list include cats, birds, horses and reptiles. In all, about 71 million households (more than 63 percent) own a pet.

Choosing Your Pet

When deciding what type of pet you want, consider several factors. First, how much room do you have in your home? If you live in a small apartment, a Saint Bernard probably isn’t the right choice for you, but a smaller dog, a cat or a bird may work well. How much time do you have to devote to a pet? If you travel frequently for work, don’t choose a dog that is motivated by time with its master. Allergies don’t necessarily rule out having a pet, but you should avoid certain breeds, such as long-haired cats. If you have a friend who has the kind of pet you’re considering, ask them about their experience, both good and bad, to get a sense of what you can expect. Maybe they will even let you take their dog for a walk, play with their bird or feed their fish to see what it will be like for you.

Help for Addiction Recovery

If you or a loved one are recovering from an addiction, a pet can be a beloved companion to help you through this difficult time. Pets give their owners unconditional acceptance, which is a huge help in fighting substance abuse. Pets won’t judge you, and they will decrease your stress, reduce your sadness, help you relax and provide a companion when you’re lonely. They can also help you build healthy habits - a dog will want to go for regular walks, for example - and develop accountability. The responsibility of taking care of a pet is a great way to build good habits in a small way that can lead to larger successes.

Bringing Your Pet Home

Once you decide on the perfect pet for you, the next step is bringing them home. If you’re anxious about this, remember that your pet probably is too, especially if your pet is a rescue animal coming from a difficult situation. Be patient and calm, and start out by giving them just a small area to get used to and build a consistent routine with them so they know when to expect food and water, exercise, play and sleep.

Depending on the pet you choose, you’ll want to plan for ways to to avoid mischief and accidents. For example, if you work a 9-to-5 job, you might need to use a crate and hire a dog walker to come by once a day to take your pup for a stroll. If you’ve got a cat, try to keep a handful of toys available and maybe invest in a cat tree or look for something that can provide endless entertainment until you can get home and show your attention.

Bonding With Your Pet

You presumably decided to get a pet because you wanted a friend, so the best way to develop this friendship is by spending time with your pet. Carve out as much time every day as you can, whether this means going for walks after work, playing in your house or exploring your yard or neighborhood with your new companion. You can even bring your pet along when you do something out of the ordinary, such as heading off on a hiking or camping trip.

Pets can improve your live immeasurably, but bringing one (or more!) home is not a decision to make lightly. Do your research, figure out what pet will work best for you and take the plunge. You may just find yourself amazed at all your pet has to offer.

Guest Blog: Jessica Brody from

For more information on Trust Centered Training and how to bond with your new pet contact Legend Acres at 


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