(Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, November 08, 2013 7:00 PM
Bringing a pet into the home can bring lots of fun, but proper planning is required to create an atmosphere that makes the relationship beneficial to both pet and owner.
Wyvette Pryor-Cousin, assistant director of Calcasieu Parish Animal Services, said time and fiscal considerations must be taken into account before adding a pet to the household.
“One of the main things is to evaluate your financial situation, because owning a pet could be costly,” Pryor-Cousin said.
“Costs include vet care in the event it gets sick. Sometimes that can be costly. There are also costs for grooming, a kennel for transporting, food, boarding if you are away. You will have to pay for yearly rabies license and vaccination. Heartworm prevention medication is a monthly expense. Training may be needed to curtail certain behavior. Bedding, water bowls, toys, collar, leash for dogs and a litter box for cats must also be provided. You want to look to see if you have the time and energy to devote to a pet.
“Most people don’t realize how much time and energy goes into having an animal. You are going to have to devote time to spend with them, walk them. You want to make sure you have the time to do that. You do not want to adopt an animal and then put it off in the corner somewhere for it to fend for itself. One of the things we run into is the pet is not walked enough; they need to have that exercise. If not, you may get a lot of barking and other things. Make sure they get exercise. We have a dog park here that is open to the public, you can walk the dog, and there is space to allow it to play.”
Finding a perfect fit for the family requires research.
“You want to see what temperament it’s going to be — if it is going to be good with children,” Pryor-Cousin said.
“One of the things we do here in our adoption program is giving the option of coming in and seeing if the animal is going to be a good fit for you, and even bringing in your other pets to see if they are going to work out together. You can talk to dog trainers. There is a plethora of information on the Internet; ASPCA has information on their websites. Our adoption counselors here are very knowledgeable on that subject. We typically do an extensive evaluation of the animals that come in to see whether or not they would be good with children. There are certain dogs that may not be conducive to children.”
Precautions should be taken to ensure the pet’s safety.
“If the pet is going to be inside, you want to figure out where it is going to sleep, where it is going to eat,” Pryor-Cousin said.
“In the case of a cat, you want to decide where to place the litter box. You have to secure any electrical cords or breakable items. You want to make sure you store any household chemicals on high shelves and install gates for areas you don’t want the pet to enter. If the pet is going to be outside, be sure that fencing is adequate and that no portion of it needs repair. If the area is not fenced, be sure the pet is legally tethered.”
For more information, call Animal Services at 721-3730.
Animal Services’ adoption requirements:
• You must possess a valid ID and be at least 18 years old.
• If you are renting, you need permission from your landlord to have a pet.
• The fee is $90 for dogs and $80 for cats.