A lot of us were not allowed to have a furry friend when we were young and were stuck with parents who did not want another responsibility in their household. We dreamed of adopting (don’t buy!) our own dog or cat when we were able to move out and have our own independent space. While this may sound like the dream life, there are many things to consider before adopting a friend and being its caretaker for life.
A South Korean entrepreneur and best-selling writer, Seong-ho Kim spoke about this in his lecture and said that those in their 20s and early 30s should not adopt an animal, as their lives will revolve around their pets. Because cats and dogs are considered a member of the family, and those in their 20s and 30s are not considered “fully independent,” having a pet at this stage can actually ruin your life. He then explains that since we cannot focus on our self-development, adopting a dog or cat should be something done after we are finally settled with our careers and goals.
After all, pets cannot be left out of every small or big choice we make in life. This may sound cruel, but in some ways, it may be what binds us in the end. This is a controversial statement and I don’t agree with everything he has said about the time when someone is fully independent, as it differs by each individual. Nevertheless, his words made a lot of people, including myself, think about whether they are prepared or not. About 6.5 million cats and dogs are abandoned each year and one of the main reasons people give up on their pets is because of a change in their lifestyles. There are so many animals that are abandoned after their owner moves to somewhere else and the new landlord doesn’t allow pets. Although that does not give an excuse for abandoning your pet, I have heard many stories of people regretting their decision to get a pet during their most insecure and imperfect times.
Another obvious reason is the financial cost. Like a human child, pets need constant medical care. In a country with one of the worst healthcare systems, I don’t know how people can afford to pay for the medical bills. It is difficult to cover the costs even if you are taken to the hospital, so it is questionable how you can cover the medical costs of your pet. While they’re young kittens and puppies, it might be at an affordable level. However, the price will skyrocket once they reach older ages. 10% of dogs and more than 50% of dogs over 10 years old end up getting diagnosed with cancer. If they have to go through chemotherapy, it can cost over $10,000 on average. Don’t forget about the other expenses that come with pet ownership. Even if you’re not getting a diamond collar, many pet owners spend a fortune on their pets for the basics, so you should consider that.
The purpose of this article is not to say that we shouldn’t think of adopting a pet in this economy. It’s not to say that it’s not worth having a pet and we should leave the shelters flooding with unwanted animals. This article addresses that all lives are precious and should be taken care of with respect and love. Pets aren’t just cute, cuddly accessories and should be a much higher priority than a lot of people think in emotional and financial aspects. They are much more than a funny meme on the internet and require most of your attention, time and effort to provide them with even the most basic things to survive. Therefore, if you are thinking of bringing your cat or dog dreams to reality, make sure to check all the boxes and do your research before committing to a life-changing decision. To those who think it’s reasonable to abandon their pet when going through a hard time in their life; this article is for you to not even think about adopting one in the first place!