Do you obsessively follow your friend who regularly posts photos of his adorable cat on Instagram? Do you wish your neighbours would let you walk their dog more often? Do you have recurring dreams of cuddling your cousin’s fluffy rabbit? If yes, then you, my friend, are suffering from pet envy. Your love for animals is driving you to insanity and the only cure is to get one yourself. But the only huddle seems to be convincing your family. When you’re younger, you’re too young, but when you’re older, you’re too old, at least, that’s the excuse parents make. But nothing worth achieving is ever easy, and so it is with pets
Some families are more rational than others, and tend to listen to reason. The most important thing to do before making your case is to research thoroughly. The main thing you need to figure out beforehand is what kind of pet you want. Animals vary greatly in the way they interact with humans, so make sure you choose an animal that has the qualities you desire in a pet. For example, if it is a furry friend you want, then dogs tend to be the best companions. It is not without reason that they have been given the epithet of ‘man’s best friend’. So make sure you find out about the nature and temperament of the animal you want and that it matches your need. Another factor to consider is the availability of space. Lack of space may be exactly what’s holding your parents back if they’ve given thought to your request and considered the options. Larger and more active species need a lot of room, so if you live in a small apartment, smaller animals such as hamsters may be the solution for you.
Also consider the climate you live in. Huskies may be your favourite dogs, but if you live in Delhi, it would be sheer cruelty to get one. Make an estimate of how much you (or your family) are willing to spend. The net cost of getting a pet involves not only the price of the animal, but also vet bills, future upkeep and any special requirements that the critter might have. Reptiles, for example, although in vogue now days, need very large glass tanks, special light fixtures and very specific dietary requirements. A lot of owners do not realize this and end up with unhappy, lethargic snakes or lizards which sadly, have very short life-spans.
Research pet stores in your city, read reviews if available. Also consider adoption, is a win-win situation where you’re getting the friend you want, and the animal in question is getting a loving home out of it, so consider visiting your local shelters make enquiries regarding their animals and procedures for adoption.
After all this information has been gathered, you must prove that you are capable enough to take care of an animal. Most parents hesitate to get pets because they do not believe their children will be able to take care of it, and they will end up being forced to assume responsibility for the animal. If you can’t remember the last time you woke up before 10 during vacations, you’re going to have a hard time convincing your parents that you’re going to take the dog out for a walk everyday. Show them that you’re willing to change your habits and assume responsibility. This isn’t something that you can do for a week and give up. It might be a while before the others are convinced, and they might just be testing you to check if you’ve actually changed or if you’re just putting on a façade with the intention of going back to your old habits once you get what you want.
When you make your case, make sure you’re taking it as seriously as you want them too. If you make your case too casually and If they think it’s just a passing phase, like that time you wanted your eyebrows pierced because all the cool kids had them too, they’re just going to try and put you off and wait for it to pass. Have a heart to heart with them and explain to them your reasons for wanting a pet, share your research with them. Do not get dissuaded by rejection, try and understand their viewpoint. If you think it is invalid or incorrect, counteract their points with your own opinions, while maintaining a respectful level of discourse. Do not, in any way, let the discussion boil over into a shouting match, a la Parliament style.
If they do not agree, try not to fight them or use manipulation to get what you want, you’re only going to come across as immature and irresponsible, and that’s exactly what you’re trying not to do, dummy. There may be need of compromise on your part too. Say, if the reason given is that your sibling is afraid of dogs, consider another option, rather than trying to force them to overcome their fears by living with one. Animal phobia, for those who experience it, can be extremely traumatic.
Or, they might even have different ideas regarding what pets you should get! Debate it with them, weigh the pros and cons of all your choices. The best outcome would be where everyone gets what they they want,of course (oh, to have a house full of animals!) but that’s highly unlikely, so be prepared to give in to their demands.
If you’re truly desperate, then any pet is better than no pet, as long as the choice is logical and well thought-out.