Choosing a Pet

A guide to choosing a pet for the owner and matching his or her needs and abilities, including the care and keeping of a pet and necessary space needed for a pet

| September/October 1988

This guide to choosing a pet helps future pet owners decide what type of pet to get, guidelines for the care and keeping of a pet and the necessary space needed for a pet. 

Choosing a Pet

IN MY PRACTICE I'VE SEEN count less animals and their owners, and nearly every type of pet known to man—from Great Pyrenees dogs to Persian cats, from panthers to pythons, hamsters to hogs.

At our house, too, we've had a constant parade of animal guests, ranging from the mundane to the mysterious–all of them loved. So it's with a plethora of pet experience that I offer the following tips on choosing a pet that'll best fit your home sanctuary.

Now, I'm going to approach this subject in a manner that you might find unusual. You see, I feel that in a compatible person/pet relationship, the animal's personality mirrors the owner's and vice versa. So it's my opinion that when deciding on what kind of pet you want, you need to look within to see the kind of person you are.

Are you affectionate to a fault? Do you feel a real need to be around friends often? Do you tend to be enthusiastic, active? If these characteristics fit you, you're a prime candidate for a dog—or most dogs, anyway. Dogs vary widely not only in their size and in the amount of "fur" they carry, but also in personality traits. Some breeds tend to be more outgoing than others, some less active, some friendly and some downright temperamental.

If you enjoy quiet and relaxation, if you like affection but don't feel a constant need for it, you're a likely cat person. If you are exuberant at times and have a flair for humor, a bird may be your best choice. And don't overlook the other pets when you're trying to match-make yourself. At one point I was a turtle person; it was a time in my life when I needed to learn how to calm myself, to become more meditative. My turtle's unblinking eyes and slow, barely discernible breathing were my teachers, my mirror into the inner self.

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