February is Responsible Pet Ownership Month.
Not only is this the month that celebrates all of us who are responsible pet owners and those of us who take the care of animals serious, but it’s also a great way for pet owners to step back and take a look at how they are doing at being a responsible owner.
I decided to take a step back and look at how responsible I am as a pet owner by using some of the common steps that I found on the web that fall into the “responsible pet ownership” guidelines.
Common Responsible Pet Ownership Guidelines
1. Spay and neuter you pet.
2. Provide proper identification for your pet through microchips and/or ID tags
3. Provide your pet with proper nutrition.
4. Train your pet well.
5. Provide proper veterinarian care for your pet, including routine check ups and following proper vaccine protocol.
6. Provide a safe environment for your pet to live. Pet. Proof. Your. Home.
7. Provide proper exercise for your pet. Get out there and MOVE IT
8. Love your pet. Unconditionally all the time, just like they love you.
9. Provide proper grooming for your pet. Brush um, bathe um, brush those teeth.
10. Clean up after your pet. Scoop the poop!
The list can go on and on but these the top guidelines I found.
How did I stack up in the responsible pet ownership category?
I failed in 3 of the more important areas.
Here are my failures:
1. Spay and neuter your pet. FAIL. 3 of my 4 pets are not altered. Sherman, Leroy and Gibby are all intact. Sherman and Leroy are intact because they are/were show dogs. Gibby is a guinea pig. He has no girlfriend and he won’t be looking for one anytime soon. Am I responsible with my intact pets? Absolutely, but by “socially correct” guidelines I am a failure. Don’t worry, I’m not offended.
2. Train your pet. FAIL. My pets are trained by the basic means of training but there is plenty of work to be done and this is all on me. One thing we really need to work on is recall. I learned this at my sisters the other day. Sherman has a great recall, but it’s nothing we’ve worked on it’s just him. Leroy’s recall sucks. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll come when he’s called, as long as there is nothing better going on.
3. Scoop the poop! My dogs normally only poop at home and I scoop that. They don’t poop on walks or hikes or when they are visiting someone else’s house. Except…………. one time last summer when we were out walking at the park and Sherman pooped!!! I had nothing, nothing I tell you, to pick it up with. Why? Because my dogs poop at home only, ever, for as long as I have known them! I didn’t pick it up. I left it and I felt very bad about it and I had nightmares about someone seeing it and cursing me. My only saving grace was that I thought maybe someone would think it was horse poop instead of dog poop. Don’t worry, I learned my lesson, I have poop bags now. Poop happens, unexpectedly. Got it.
Here are my excels:
1. Proper Identification. All of the dogs are microchipped and registered. Gibby is not, but maybe he should be since his little disappearing episode last year.
2. Provide proper veterinarian care. I think I need bonus points for this one, or maybe some type of pet perk, one that takes money off my vet bill.
3. Provide proper grooming. Consumes most of my life. Enough said.
4. Love your pet. More than words can say. Another bonus type situation. Maybe a few pet perks for this too?
The other areas I think I am just average on.
1. Provide proper nutrition. Doing this to the best of my ability and research but continues to be a work in progress.
2. Provide a safe environment for your pet. I do my best but with Leroy I guess this is on a as needed basis. Remember the rocks? Leroy all of a sudden thought they would be a great snack. He ate um so we removed them.
3. Provide proper exercise. I am trying my best with this, but there is room for improvement.
I guess that makes me an average responsible pet owner, maybe a work in progress?
Being a responsible pet owner is a subject that is important to all of us, but we need to keep in my mind that different pets may require different responsibilities. I may have failed at some of the basics but I’m not afraid to admit that and take responsibility for it. That counts, right?
How about you? Do you excel in more areas than some in being a responsible pet owner or are you a work in progress?