ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

One Simple Rule for Choosing an Ideal Pet

Updated on December 9, 2013
Source

My boyfriend Mike likes to say that a dog chooses its owner. Accordingly, when he went to the shelter four years ago to find a pet, he was “chosen” by a rambunctious two-year-old coonhound who leapt on him at the first possible opportunity. He named the dog J.D., and since then, all of Mike’s visitors have had a similar—and often startling—leap-at-first-sight experience with the 87-pound canine. However, none of them has yet seen this as sufficient reason to take J.D. home with them.

While Mike loves J.D., their time together has been a bit of a challenge. Living alone with a full-time job and a substantial commute, Mike can’t be home often enough to give an energetic hunting dog all the attention and exercise it craves. So, in addition to morning and evening walks, J.D. gets exercise at home by digging in the couch cushions and tearing down the curtains when Mike leaves the house. In light of all this, I have advised Mike to: (1) work on obedience training with J.D. and (2) do the choosing himself next time he decides to adopt a new pet. Additionally, although nothing aids adoption decisions as well as research into the type of pet best suited to one’s lifestyle, I would suggest applying a rule for classifying animals that I learned when adopting my first pet as a little girl.

When I was six years old, my dad took my brother Matthew and me to a pet store to pick out a new puppy. Having done some research on dog breeds, he had decided that a Sheltie would be ideal for our family. The shop had three little Sheltie puppies ready for adoption, waiting behind a glass window, two boys and a girl. The first boy was my brother’s favorite. It ran back and forth, from one side of the cage to the other, sometimes losing its footing and spiraling into a kind of somersault, careless of any walls it might bump into on the way. The second boy was not interested in play or visitors at all. It ignored us for about two minutes as we tapped on the glass and giggled at his brother. Then, unamused with the antics of canine siblings and human children alike, he snuggled himself into a corner and fell asleep, his back turned on us all. Finally, the girl dog—like the last bowl of porridge in “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”—was just right. Where one of her brothers was high strung and almost uncontainable in his energy, another was completely uninterested in play or interaction with people. In contrast to both, the girl dog, who we would name Jessie, was playful but calm. She wagged her tail, tumbled and ran with her brother, but also stopped long enough to sniff the glass when we tapped it and occasionally sat down to observe the action. In the twelve years that we owned Jessie, we found this relatively moderate temperament to be perfect, giving us an energetic and affectionate dog who was also highly agreeable, observant, and receptive to human signals and commands.

Armed with this experience, when encountering a litter of puppies, kittens, or other potential companion animals, I generally apply the “Goldilocks” rule, choosing the animal that is neither most nor least energetic. A pet that is obviously high strung will require lots of attention. Like J.D., it will require large amounts of exercise, which can be a difficult commitment for its owner, and it may engage in destructive behaviors when its exercise needs are not met. Also like a J.D., an excessively energetic, hyperstimulated pet may be too easily distracted or willful to take to human commands easily. At the other extreme, an excessively shy or indifferent pet may not be able to provide the outward shows of affection that pet owners often crave. Additionally, like the overly energetic pet, it may not be terribly receptive to human commands. The “just right” pet has enough energy to be playful and social, requires only moderate amounts of exercise, and is calm enough to be receptive to an owner’s commands.

Through the years, I have only had a few opportunities to apply this theory of choosing pets, but diverging from it has seldom ended well. For example, a few years after adopting Jessie, my brother and I were presented with a choice between two kittens in a large cardboard box. One mewed softly and played with toys dangled in front of her, while the other acted as an escape artist, constantly making high leaps out of the box. We were charmed by the second cat, but later found that he rather predictably enjoyed stunts like pulling the tablecloth from a fully set table or darting out the front door as soon as it was opened. One day, our hyperactive cat simply never returned. We feared it might have had a run-in with a raccoon—or a car. Perhaps, had we paid attention to the same criteria used in selecting our dog, we might have enjoyed the company of a moderately playful, manageably mischievous cat until the peaceful end of its natural life.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)