The Kids and the Furry: Time for a Pet?

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Putting toys away promptly and in the right place indicates a level of responsibility that may be conducive to owning a pet. Does your child complete chores willingly and without a lot of nagging from you? If not, then he may not be ready to take on the responsibility of feeding, housebreaking, grooming or walking a pet. Make sure your child has spent time around the type of pet you're considering and understands the pet's needs. Decide who will be responsible for each of the animal's needs before the animal comes home, and decide on consequences if those needs aren't met. If the child consistently slacks on feeding the dog, for example, what will his punishment be? Finally, ensure that the family's finances will allow for vet bills, pet insurance, grooming and the daily costs of having a pet. Realize that despite moving, new babies or other life changes, the pet is yours for the long haul.