General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

Is it just me, or does it seem as if no one bothers to do any research or gain any knowledge about an animal before adding it as a pet to the family?

Asked by tinyfaery (35608 points ) May 11th, 2009

I am beginning to get irritated with all of the “what do I do about the problem with the pet I just got” questions. I would never get an animal (that I have no knowledge of) without doing some research first. Adding an animal to one’s household is not always an easy task. Being ignorant about the responsibilities of animal care seems to be a reason many people end-up abandoning animals at shelters, as well.

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38 Answers

asmonet's avatar

It’s not just you. :(

fireside's avatar

Yeah, I heard about this one girl whose wife brought home some chickens and then she got on Fluther to find out how to take care of them until their owner could be found : P

dynamicduo's avatar

In everything in life, the smart people aren’t the ones who stand out. It’s the dumbass ones who do stupid things like adopting pets before researching them, then abandoning them whenever it’s easy, who stand out.

I am comforted knowing that I research my pets and I would never sell my beardie babies to anyone who didn’t seem knowledgeable about how to care for them.

Oh, here’s an interesting consideration – what about the pet stores who are more than willing to sell anyone any pet they want? Are they at fault in anyway here?

eponymoushipster's avatar

duh, @tinyfaery, a movie with a cute animal is the best way to find a pet.~

tinyfaery's avatar

@fireside Did I adopt those chickens? Was it my choice to have them? Or, did I do a good deed, for one night, and then give them back to their rightful owner?

Oh yes, that was the same exact scenario as this one.~

reverie's avatar

I haven’t been on Fluther long, so can’t comment on the community here, but…

I dislike the attitude that some people have towards “pets”, as though they a commodity that can be bought, exchanged and sold, that gives a predictable output, that can be faulty in some way, much like other household products. I guess people forget that these things are living creatures first, and their “pet” second.

Jude's avatar

I agree. Back in high school, I did some co-op work at an animal shelter. I couldn’t tell you how many families came by and dumped their Jack Russells because they were apparently “too high strung”. Well, if they would’ve read up on them, they would’ve known that the breed, albeit tiny has lots of energy. They didn’t end up being your typical “lapdog”, much to the owner’s dismay.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

People have a tendency to buy baby chicks and rabbits around Easter, think that Disney animal movies are true to life, and believe a lot of hogwash about animals because they saw it in a movie.

Movies are entertainment, not real life. I’m so glad I was raised in a rural environment, and know the truth about the care and feeding of animals. If Disney was my source for truth, then I’d be like all those sorry idiots that think every animal makes a great pet.

“OMFG, my pet alligator Pinky just ate three of the neighbor kids!”

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@jmah, we have a JRT, awesomely intelligent dog, and what I like best is that she is a hunting dog, and has been trained as a Pet Therapy dog. Great dogs, and I don’t think I’d have any other breed.

I spent a lot of time researching JRTs before we got her. Just seems like the rational thing to do.

Dog's avatar

Great Question.

Wouldn’t it be great if a class in pet care was required before adopting?

From my years of working with Animal Shelters it is heartbreaking to see the look in the eyes of a pet as the owner drives away.

When we decided to add a rabbit to our family the first stop was the library. We checked out several books on rabbit care and over a few weeks the kids and I read them. Only after 2 months did we actually adopt.

Getting a pet impulsively is as bad as getting married to a stranger.

MissAusten's avatar

I don’t understand why people buy pets they don’t have a clue about either. Sometimes people will buy a pet that they think is “easy,” only to find out that their pet requires more care than they thought. Or, they get a small animal to keep in a cage and mostly forget about it.

Like @Dog, we chose a rabbit as a pet. We have friends who raise two breeds, one for pets and one for meat. Before we decided to get a pet rabbit from them, I did a lot of research online. We had a rabbit when I was a kid, but since my mom did most of the pet care I wanted to make sure I knew what we were really getting ourselves into. Since the rabbit was mainly a present for our daughter, we gave her a book about rabbit care and said she had to read it before she could so much as brush or feed the bunny. It paid off, since our bunny is now litter trained and very spoiled. My cousin bought two rabbits for her kids on a whim, and complains about them all the time. She refuses to believe they can be litter trained, keeps them in cages in the unfinished basement, and feeds them nothing but rabbit food (they should be getting hay and fresh foods daily too). A few weeks after getting their rabbits, one of them had almost no hair left on its backside because they were fighting constantly (both males, not nuetered). Now they are in separate cages, and you can’t even go near the basement without cringing from the smell. It makes me so mad—the kids even ignore the rabbits.

Jude's avatar

And, the puppy thing drove me crazy, too. Families would come into the shelter looking for a puppy. Weeks later they would come back and say that the puppy is pooping and peeing everywhere and is being destructive. People wouldn’t take the time to train the puppy and give him/her a chance (what, after a couple weeks?). And, then there were people that would dump their elderly dog off because they had bad teeth, thus, horrible breath..wtf??? Take the time to care for you dog. Good food, proper training (patience), exercise, play, and tlc.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I wish my roommates had done the research on how much care and attention their dog needs. I can only play with her so much during the day, because I have to look for work, exercise and run errands and so on. Both of them have work and heavy social lives, and the dog craves attention.

She isn’t my dog, though, and I don’t know how much responsibility I have towards an animal I had no say (or desire) to have in our home. :/

casheroo's avatar

While growing up, I remember my parents always having magazines or books on the certain breed of animal we had. I did a lot of research on my miniature pinscher before I got him honestly, that still didn’t prepare me for him lol
People should do some research, I mean, probably not with your standard cat…but I know my husband had no clue how to really care for a cat, feeding wise, which was foreign to me since I had cats all my life and it was instinct for me. It’s easy to pick up on how to care for cats though.

Also, with my Min Pin, he ended up being the runt of the litter with many health problems. I wasn’t expecting that at all, but did the best I could. I had to give him antibiotics six times a day, three different meds. I was going to and from all sorts of vets, just trying to get a proper diagnosis, and I had to actually bake bland chicken and rice for him because he couldn’t handle any dog food. It was rough, and I truly believe the people before me didn’t take the time to actually care for him and tried to play it off as they were breeders selling him (didn’t add up though, after we got him…)
I hate that people don’t educate themselves, or view pets as disposable :(

Dog's avatar

@MissAusten So very sad about the rabbits. They are such gentle socal creatures. We have a pair of rescued females that live in my studio and hop around my feet as I paint. On nice days they have a covered outdoor play area. Awful to hear about two that are neglected so badly.

wundayatta's avatar

The people who do their research about their pets don’t need to come ask fluther. We will only get the ones who didn’t find out enough to take care of their pets.

jaketulane's avatar

I really think it comes down to what sort of animal it is. If it’s a puppy or a kitten or something else run of the mill, people usually think “Can we afford/care for it?” before they ever think about “How do we care for it?”. As for the more exotic pets…. I’ll use myself as an example.

I purchased a bearded dragon for my wife, not because the woman at the pet store told me they were good pets, but because I did a little research on the pet after my interest had been raised in order to ensure that I would not regret a somewhat expensive investment. That would have been great and all, but the little guy was apparently sick and wouldn’t eat, despite several trips to the vet. He didn’t even last a month. If you’re going to try an exotic pet, do your research, but also… research the place you’re planning on getting it from. That was a really horrible pet store.

Knotmyday's avatar

We have three cats. One (the “inside” cat) is sociable and friendly, the other two are horrible spitting clawing creatures that try to gut us when we pick them up. They are content to stay outside, and we have no problems with creepy-crawlies anymore, because the monsters kill and eat everything that wiggles, including sidewinders.
Weird, cause they’re all from the same litter. It’s not the same as releasing a komodo dragon in the nursery, but I also think there’s a bit of pot-luck in choosing even domesticated animals.

tinyfaery's avatar

@Knotmyday Of course. That is why one should know what they might be getting themselves into when adopting a pet. I’ve had cats all my life. I know what to do in pretty much any situation

chyna's avatar

We read several books on the 3 or 4 different breeds of dog we wanted to find out which one fit our lifestyle best and which one got along with people best. By the time we decided, I felt we had researched enough to know about the breed we chose. We also found a couple of people that had that breed and visited them and asked them many questions. We did not take it lightly on owning a dog.

El_Cadejo's avatar

This completely kills me that people do this. Of all the animals that people carelessly buy id say fish is at the top of the scale. People always see them as easily replaceable. Oh well it died ill just get another. Half the people i talk to at work didnt do a damn bit of research before coming to the store and will pick fish at random and then are confused why they die. People also tend to have the misconception that a fish will only grow to the size of its tank so they will put fish that need 150g+ sized tanks in a small 30g tank. Its alive so yea, it must be fine. Forget the fact that this fish is living a miserable life and is slowly suffering because it cant swim properly, its alive, all is well.

There is one guy who frequently shops at the store and he will always buy the most expensive fish we have(usually spends around 700–800). About a month or two later he will come back and then do the same exact thing because all the fish from before died because he doesnt actually know anything about these animals, he just likes to look at them. The way he sees it is he has enough money to just keep buying them so who cares if they die or not. The worst part is that he has the money to pay someone to take care of his tank and maintain it but he doesnt. fuck that guy

Always ALWAYS research any animal thoroughly before purchasing it. Read read read read and then read some more. Make sure you really want to keep whatever it is your buying and are able to care for it properly. Impulse buys are never good and 9 times out of 10 end badly. Once you’ve researched everything then go buy the animal. The experience will be much more gratifying and enjoyable.

can you tell this is a sore subject for me :P

@dynamicduo at my work im only allowed to suggest against purchases once or twice and then after that its on them. People tend to get quite mad when you tell them no especially when its their money they are trying to spend. Another problem is a lot of pet stores have employees that dont know shit about the animals either so they cant even suggest against things. They just sell whatever to whoever or will tell you completely false things. Another reason why its important to do your own research.

badass101's avatar

some people do but i dont

maybe_KB's avatar

It’s me or the dog
Animal Planet

BBSDTfamily's avatar

I agree with you, a lot of pet owner’s are extremely irresponsible. We researched which breed of dog we wanted for months before buying. A lot of people are just unaware that the cockatiel that looked so cute at the pet store is going to throw birdseed out of it’s cage and live for 15 years! They are great pets, for example, but a lot of them end up being given away. It’s ridiculous.

ratboy's avatar

You’re so on the mark—with minimal research and I would have known that crocodiles bite before bringing Krissy Croc home, and we’d still have Fluffy and dear little Bonnie.

cak's avatar

I am one of the places these animals wind up going to when their flighty owners get bored. I foster animals that need homes, it’s hard to place some of them, but eventually, we do find homes for them. I will not place an animal where the owner doesn’t have an idea about the breed or isn’t prepare for the particular animal..including training.

It makes me so angry to see animal “trends” like Disney and Dalmatians. Everyone wanted one and didn’t realize what a high strung breed they are and they were dumped on shelters when owners couldn’t contain, maintain or entertain them. “Oh, they were so different than the movie!!” Of course they were, you moron. That was a highly trained dog that was being coached. Duh.

In the 80’s the big thing was pot bellied pigs. Everyone wanted one. They were so cute, so tiny…until adopted by the regular people down the street. The “teacup” pig became a 100lb mess…and growing. Oh, and they didn’t realize how intelligent a pig truly is…they couldn’t keep it stimulated. Pigs were being rescued that were morbidly obese and in danger of dying from malnutrition. If I had my way, they all would have been charged with animal abuse.

I swear, people should be tested before owning pets or having children. GRRRR!

tinyfaery's avatar

<<In soothing voice>> It’s okay cak, everything will be all right.

cak's avatar

@tinyfaery – I promise, I’m off my soap box now. I had to get down, I’m dizzy from my rant. ;)

Dog's avatar

@cak- ohhh don’t get me started on the having kids thing! There should be forced classes and reality checks first!

RedPowerLady's avatar

I agree with the general sentiment that people should research before getting a pet. I am a strong believer in animal rights.

However I don’t like the idea that just because you don’t know how to care for your animal you are a horrible person. You can do all the research in the world but the actual experience of owning a pet is quite different. For example we had lovebirds. We researched a bunch before getting them. And when we got them we loved them dearly. But we really did not realize just how ugly their sqwak was (eventually we got used to it). Or we researched fish tanks extensively. We bought all the good equipment and still have problems keeping the fish alive. We talked with the pet store owners and friends to make sure we got good fish matches and knew how to take care of the “types” of fish we got. We’ve asked questions and questions and spend so much time trying to make it work. Now we’ve decided we just aren’t fish owners. It is irresponsible to keep buying them if we can’t keep them alive, no matter how much research we do or how hard we try.

Now as far as asking questions. I am a first time dog owner. I never had a long term dog as a child. I researched dogs before getting one. But after I got her I had A Lot of questions. It is not out of irresponsibility or animal cruelty but just needing some support. Especially when we first got her and she chewed up half of what we owned, lol. I was ready to “give her back”. Of course I didn’t mean it. But getting support from friends helped a lot and a I realized it was just a “stage” and that feeling aggrivated was normal. I really didn’t know that at the time. Now we have a great relationship with our pet pooch and we love her immensely. I still ask questions when they arise because you just can’t prepare for everything.

So perhaps a long rant but I think the idea that just because people ask questions or even “b*tchy” questions does not necessarily mean they are irresponsible or careless and should not own pets. Of course I agree that people should research and be responsible and caring pet owners. But I think we are jumping to conclusions here. I think people should feel free to have a safe space to be frustrated and discuss their “pet problems”. It is a natural part of owning a pet. As long as you are responsible and caring then why not ask questions?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@cak Trends suck. When Finding Nemo came out clownfish sold like crazy. People would call and ask why they died shortly after going in the water. Turns out people were putting them straight in freshwater…..

cak's avatar

@uberbatman Those poor fish. Dumb ass people.

@RedPowerLady – I think I should clarify. I don’t mind when an owner asks questions, there are differences. You can tell when someone knows nothing about the animal they have. They don’t even know if the animal is well-suited for their family.

In Florida, I worked for an animal rescue for quite some time. We had a mother bring a rather large python in, saying she didn’t realize it could be dangerous to have around her baby. Evidently, it was out of it’s enclosure and found it’s way to the baby’s crib. The baby was fine, but the snake was laying across the baby, putting an amazing amount of weight on the baby’s chest. The ER didn’t think too highly of the idea of a snake and baby, in the same crib. Now, I know that there are people that will point out how rare that is, but the fact is, it’s something that would never happen in my house. One, snakes aren’t meant to be pets – large ones that need a natural environment. Two, a baby and a large snake? No.

There are times when people do buy pets and no matter how much research is done, it’s not a great fit. It’s necessary to find a new home and try again. It’s sad for the owner and for the pet, but yes, it happens. When done properly, the owners may have better luck the next time and the pet finds a good home, too.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@cak I agree that sometimes people are irresponsible and well just plain airheads (using a “nice” term). And that they should obviously have done some more research or talking to family/friends before getting their pets. I guess my point is that this is not the case in every circumstance and this thread feels like an admonishing of people who ask questions about their pets, as if everyone (or most people) who does is irresponsible. Sometimes asking questions is the best thing to do. Or in the case of the python lady, sometimes taking your pet back is the best thing to do. BTW good story to illustrate your point. That is craziness.

I put feels in bold because obviously that is not the intention here. It just felt that way to me, coming in late and reading the question and all the answers

tinyfaery's avatar

I have asked questions about animals, and I have given answers with no judgment what so ever. My problem is when people ask questions like should I declaw my cat because it scratches the furniture, or my old cat and puppy are not getting along, what do I do? WTF? Didn’t these people consider finding out about their choice animal or learn a bit about introducing animals?

I have the right to think people like this are irresponsible and careless about the welfare of their animals.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@tinyfaery But isn’t that a legitimate question: “should I declaw my cat because it scratches the furniture” for a new cat owner? I mean no matter how much research you do you aren’t prepared for the amount of destruction a pet can cause. And after you get over the initial shock of it (like when I got my new pup and she chewed everything to shreds) you aren’t frustrated and you find helpful ways to deal with it. Isn’t it more appropriate she/he is asking the question vs. going out and getting it done? Perhaps for people who have been raised around cats their entire life this would be a bit annoying. But as a first time dog owner in my late twenties I can tell you that no matter how much research I did personally I wasn’t prepared for some of the “issues” that arose. It didn’t stop me from loving my pet or treating her well. Asking questions is a way to learn what is idiotic and what is not. (now I didn’t ask any of the questions on here, I just think it is a huge misjudgment to think that “idiotic” or “annoying” questions equates with an irresponsible owner).

I have the right to think people like this are irresponsible and careless about the welfare of their animals.
You certainly do have that right. I just disagree. I think that some of these people are irresponsible. And some have legitimate reasons for asking the questions and it does not make them irresponsible or poor pet owners.

Also I just want to re-emphasize I lurve animal rights protectors. I am just discussing the issue of asking “idiotic” questions.

tinyfaery's avatar

Read the first sentence of my last post. Didn’t I say some people?

Knotmyday's avatar

aside- my outside cats killed a big jackrabbit yesterday afternoon. It was like watching Wild Kingdom. I’m still freaked out about it.

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