• Take your sweet time deciding on which pet... this is a very important decision, and the deciding part is a whole lot of fun.
  • Carefully consider what aspects of your life are going to change with the acquisition of this pet, and especially reflect upon whether you truly have the time, energy, situation and need for this animal.
  • Determine what provisions you will need to shelter, feed and care for the pet, including the costs of such responsibilities.
  • Consider a range of animals, not just the one you had in mind at first... you might find something that is even more appropriate for you.
  • Throughly research the animals you are considering.
  • Carefully consider what is going to happen to this pet as it grows, and determine whether you are really committed to caring for this pet long after its "cute baby phase."
  • Talk with people who own or breed the type of pet you are considering.
  • Check a variety of sources to compare quality and prices before acquiring the pet.
  • Consider checking with your local humane shelter or rescue organizations to aquire a pet that really NEEDS you!
  • Select a source that is very knowledgeable of the particular type of animal you are interested in, keeps its animals clean and healthy, and shows true caring for the pet.
  • Determine where the pet came from (breeder), and be very leery of animals that were obtained from more than 100 miles away.
  • Determine specifically what guarantees are provided by the seller.
  • Determine if any health provisions or certificates are provided or will be necessary (i.e. vaccinations, etc.)
  • Ensure that the seller provides you with an accurate receipt of the transaction, with description of the animal and all warranty provisions included.
  • Have its living environment (bed, cage, crate, etc.) set up before obtaining the pet.
  • Determine exactly what the animal's diet and daily regimen has been, and try to approximate this same routine during the transition phase.
  • Upon bringing the animal home, recognize that it is enduring a very traumatic experience.
  • Be calm and extremely patient with your new pet.
  • Try to make it feel as secure as possible. Place it in the area where it will be spending most of its time, and allow it time and space to get used to its new environment.
  • Prepare yourself to embrace whatever experiences come with this new family member, for better and for worse... as in all relationships there will be some of both.
  • Constantly keep in mind how much you wanted this pet, how you willingly accepted responsibility for its care and wellbeing, and how truly wonderful this creature of God is.


  • Acquire a pet on impulse or on a whim.
  • Acquire a pet as an ego extension.
  • Acquire a pet as a gift for someone else. Pets are a huge responsibility, not something to be handed out like a necktie or flowers. Prospective pet-owners (even children) should go through all of the steps listed above in the "Do" section for themselves.
  • Acquire a pet if your living situation is likely to dramatically change within a short period of time (hello teenagers!), possibly preventing you from devoting the time, energy and overall care your pet needs.
  • Succumb to the temptation to acquire an unusually exotic pet (see PetStation's "PETNOT!").
  • Rely on information provided by pet stores; they are notorious for giving out BAD advice!
  • Allow any salesperson to bully or badger you into acquiring a pet you're not absolutely certain about.
  • Acquire a pet because you "feel sorry for it" unless you are absolutely certain that its present living conditions are unacceptable and you are completely committed to either giving it a better home or finding one for it.
  • Acquire a pet from an individual or establishment that is clearly not taking good care of the animals by keeping them clean, healthy and happy.
  • Place an inordinate importance on getting the cheapest price or even "a good deal" on a pet; expect to pay a fair price for this most precious commodity.
  • Even consider obtaining a pet from a source that provides no health guarantee or opportunity for you to have the pet checked by your vet.
  • Think that you must quickly purchase a particular animal because it is the one and only one of its kind; there are always more, and they are all special.
  • Rush home with your new pet and invite the entire neighborhood to see it; allow it a chance to settle in.
  • Hold and play with your new pet too much the first couple of days.


  • Shower your pet with affection and praise.
  • Try to build up its confidence and sense of security and happiness all the time.
  • Spend quality time with your pet every day.
  • Be firm but always loving in establishing rules of behavior.
  • Provide an appropriate, safe and interesting living environment for your pet.
  • Make sure your pet receives a healthy, balanced and varied diet.
  • Be very sensitive to your pet's physical and emotional needs and wellbeing.
  • Be quick to take your pet to the vet when something seems wrong.
  • Ensure that your pet does not live a life of chronic boredom.
  • Allow your pet to be the type of animal it is; it is not human.
  • Involve your pet in as much of your life as possible (when practical and advisable).
  • Continually read and keep yourself informed about your type of pet; stay on top of new developments in pet-care which may affect your pet.
  • Educate yourself regarding the animal's natural environment and way of life, and think of ways you can bring some of this into your pet's life with you.
  • Take care of yourself; YOU are your pet's most important asset in the world.
  • Make arrangements with family or friends to provide for your pet should something happen to you.


  • Ever, ever, ever hit your pet... and by this we don't mean a relatively mild swat to get their attention (which might be appropriate for some larger pets), but rather the strike that is meant to hurt. You know the difference!
  • Do anything that could jeopardize your pet's trust in and love for you.
  • Become blaise about your pet or take it for granted.
  • Expect your pet to live up to human expectations; it is not a human.
  • Place your pet in harm's way; there are a million and one dangers out there -- think before you do something.
  • Allow friends, aquaintances, or anyone else, to tease or abuse your pet.


  • Admit that it was YOUR mistake.
  • Take responsibility for YOUR mistake.
  • Keep the pet and care for it well until YOU find it a good home.
  • Be extremely diligent in finding someone TRULY appropriate for this pet; remember, if YOU hadn't made YOUR mistake this pet might already have a good home.
  • (If you absolutely cannot keep the pet) Contact a rescue group that specializes in this type of pet, or a no-kill sanctuary, and donate a minimum of $50 for their services in absolving you of YOUR mistake.


  • Take the frustration of YOUR mistake out on the pet.
  • Expect to gain back ANY of the money you spent on the pet; your responsibility is to ensure that this living creature is well taken care of... and you deserve an expensive lesson for YOUR mistake!
  • Pawn the pet off on someone else who may be an equally poor (or worse) prospective keeper.
  • Dump the pet off at a shelter or any other service where it may be euthanized.
  • Dump the pet on the roadside or in the wilderness where it will almost certainly soon die.
  • Make the same mistake again!

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