Love, Life Stories

Can’t get a pet? You can still get your animal fix

Maybe you're living with someone who has allergies. Maybe your lease is nasty. Maybe you're broke. But there is hope for you if you are wild for animals!

Why is it so hard to have a pet these days?

I don’t mean in the sense of the time and money it takes, or the effort that goes into researching types or breeds. I don’t even mean the learning curve it takes to train them, or figure out a good schedule.

[bctt tweet=”Why is it so hard to have a pet these days?” username=”wearethetempest”]

I’m talking about long commutes and short lunch breaks that would make it impossible to let a dog out in the afternoon. About the increasing number of landlords who have strict, all-encompassing no-pets policies in their buildings. About the stigma people with emotional support animals face from people who assume they’re all working the system.

Pet people think of their creatures as part of the family, and it’s hard to hear that college-aged boys are allowed to inevitably destroy whatever apartment they’re renting while you can’t have so much as a small rodent in a cage.

Fortunately, if you want to get your furry fix without breaking your lease or running the risk of not being able to afford food, there are still options! Try these methods until you move to an animal-friendly apartment, start working from home, or give up and start the sheep farm you always dreamed of having.

[bctt tweet=”Try these tricks to calm your animal-addicted mind” username=”wearethetempest”]

1. Volunteer at a shelter

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Give some love to the pups and kitties and all the other animals at your local shelter. You can exercise the dogs, handle the cats, and help keep the shelter clean. It can be hard to get attached to the animals when you can’t take one home yourself, but seeing the animals go home with the loving families who come to adopt them is a great feeling, and its made even better when you know you helped make it happen.

2. Work as a dog walker or pet sitter

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Dog walking and pet sitting are easy gigs to pick up in your spare time, especially if your schedule allows you to walk pups during the 9-5 work day. You can apply to work for a service or just ask your friends and family who have pets to call you the next time they go on vacation. You’ll get some more exercise, extra cash, and it’s great practice to make sure you’re ready to make the leap when the time is right.

3. Go to the park

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If there isn’t a dog park near you, pretty much any park on a sunny Saturday is bound to have some pups playing fetch. Bring a snack, a book, and watch the fun from a nice spot under a tree. If you’re lucky, a stray tennis ball and the fluffy guy chasing after it will come your way!

4. Take a horseback riding class

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Most stables offer beginner classes for a day as well as different levels depending on if you went to riding camp growing up or are more advanced. Try for one that allows you to brush the horse and saddle them yourself, so you really get the full experience. A big animal like a horse will definitely hit the animal-spot in your heart, and the bonding that happens when you ride is unlike anything else.

5. Remember how hard pets actually are

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No one needs to tell you how great it is to have an animal. You’ve got that part figured out. But, especially when you’re really yearning for a soft friend to cuddle, it’s even more important to maintain some perspective. Pets are hard! They’re expensive, time consuming, and they can be destructive even if you do everything right. Ask that person at the dog park playing fetch how long it’s been since they slept in past 6 or 7 in the morning (if they’re even that lucky). Ask that family who adopted one of the dogs you cared for at the shelter how much time they spend walking their new family member in the rain and snow. Ask a pet-friendly landlord about some of the nightmares they’ve had to deal with from tenants who had the best of intentions.

Even with the struggles that come with it, you still want an animal someday. And it’s hard to wait. There can be a lot of temptation to break the rules of your lease, or exaggerate the benefits you would get from an animal to get that ESA note from a doctor.

[bctt tweet=”It’s so hard to wait!” username=”wearethetempest”]

But don’t be that person. Don’t be the person who makes it that much worse for the rest of us, and don’t be the person who puts themselves at risk of getting caught, getting in trouble, and having to rehome their pet down the line.

Be responsible. Wait until your life is ready. And in the meantime, don’t despair! There are always cat videos to soothe you, and corgis to follow on Instagram. There is hope!