By Robin Rhea, PetSafe Senior Brand Manager
When you love your pet, it’s easy to begin thinking that adding another pet to your home will only increase everything that you treasure about being a pet owner. I’ve recently had the opportunity to personally experience the process of adding a new pet to my home. Just like pets themselves, adding a new one to your home can be full of surprises.
Get down to business before doubling up
Of course another pet means you’ve got another mouth to feed, take to the vet, exercise and train. That means more time and money to care for them. When planning to add another pet to my life, it helped me to think through my typical week. I mentally added a second dog to all of my activities to get a feel for how my daily schedule would need to adjust. Finances are also critical to consider. I reviewed my budget and doubled the amount we set aside for Buckley for vet care, food, flea and heart worm, toys, treat, boarding and day camp.
Double up on patience
Once you lock eyes with a pet, logic can go out the window. It’s so important to assess the appropriateness of a new pet without being influenced by the emotional side of wanting a new furry friend. Shelters and rescue groups understand that matching up the right pet to the right family is paramount. We got Finn, our latest addition, from a rescue in Indiana and we had many discussions about our home, lifestyle, and Finn’s behavior before we made the trip to get him.
Acclimating a new pet to your home requires still more patience. We introduced Buckley and Finn slowly and in a neutral environment. We gradually grew their time and exposure to each other. We also had to understand learn Finn’s “need to potty” cues and the most effective training method for his learning style. But we got really lucky because Finn loves to please and he is a fast learner.
More to love as long as it’s equal
Even with the best laid plan there is an emotional part of a new pet and exact how this will affect things is impossible to predict. Your new pet may not like your current pet and vice versa, or they may love each other and not care much about you anymore. I was worried Buckley might be jealous of a new dog but I was not prepared for it to be the other way around. Every time I go to love Buckley, Finn wants to get in the mix. He isn’t aggressive but Buckley responds by moving away. I’m completely falling in love with Finn one snort at a time, but in no way did I want it to negatively affect Buckley. With help from Kris, my husband, I make a special effort to give them both lots of love, together and separately. I’m hopeful that with a little more time, Finn won’t feel like he has to compete for my attention.
Plan carefully for a new additional to your pet family but remember to expect the unexpected. From this perspective of this pet-loving writer, a new pet means more love all the way around and it’s completely worth it.
Robin Hawn is the Senior Brand Manager of the PetSafe Family of Brands for Radio Systems Corporation, head quartered in Knoxville, TN. She works to build a brand of products designed to give consumer more of the best moments they can possibly have with their pets. She has a MBA with a Marketing Emphasis, a B.A in English, and 10 years experience developing and launching marketing plans, brand strategy and PR campaigns across a variety of diverse industries. Her French bulldog Buckley typically logs the same hours at the office as Robin. She volunteers with the Most Pet Friendly Community initiative that has a mission of making Knoxville, TN the most pet friendly community in America.