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By Debbie Graham

How adorable is that doggy in the window? Did you ever pass by a pet store that sells puppies and kittens and find them hard to resist? A friend of mine did. Because she made a spontaneous purchase of a weimeranner puppy without first doing her homework, she ended up with an uncontrollable animal with no money or knowledge about how to rectify the situation. If you are thinking of adopting or purchasing a pet, think about this:

• Does everyone in the family agree on getting a pet? If not, ignoring their wishes may very well cause damage to your relationships.

• Make sure it’s okay with the landlord to have pets.

• Decide who will care for the pet before you get one and make sure they stick to their promise. Many animals are surrendered to shelters because the people who were supposed to care for them lost interest.

• Determine before you acquire a pet that no one who will be coming in contact with it is allergic. This is another reason animals end up in shelters.

• Do your research. If you’ve never had a cat, but are thinking of getting one, talk to people you know who have one. Find out what the pros and cons are. Can you live with the worst of it?

• Maintaining a pet can be an expensive proposition. Make sure you can afford the price of food and litter. If you want to get a dog, it needs a license. There may be times when you will need emergency vet care. Your new puppy will need a lot of training. You may need to hire a professional to work out the kinks.

If you have a penchant for a pooch or a pussy cat, these are just a few tips for becoming a responsible pet owner. Follow them and your family, neighbors and pet will love you for it.

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