Picture this: you work a job that sometimes pushes you beyond the usual 9-to-5 schedule. You also spend lots of time on the road, either stuck in traffic or traveling to and from meetings. And on top of that, you also have other responsibilities, whether it’s for your family or friends. Simply put, you’re busy as hell. Can you still take care of a pet?
The short answer is basically, it depends. After all, there are benefits to owning pets. They can help you kick back and relax; studies have shown that pet owners have levels of stress hormones and report better moods.
Here are some things that you can do if you’re considering getting an animal companion:
Choose the Right Kind of Pet
Before you even get your own pet, you surely already have an inkling of what your schedule in the next few months would be like. So if you can already foresee that you won’t have a lot of time to devote to taking care of a pet, you may want to choose a low-maintenance dog breed. Good examples are a pug or an English bulldog. After all, many canine breeds require more attention than other pets.
It can be better to go for a cat (or two), as most cats can manage being alone better. Simply leave them a clean litterbox, toys, and enough food or water for the day. Fish are also a great option—after setting up the tank, you only need to clean it once every two weeks. No need to take them out for walks or to schedule playtime every day.
Share the Responsibility
Living with other people at home? If they also want a house pet, you can ask them for help in taking care of the pet. Small chores, such as feeding the fish while you’re out, are easy enough to accomplish.
Integrate Pet Care with Other Activities
Instead of doing pet-related tasks one by one, you may want to combine it with your other daily or weekly activities. For example, instead of hitting the gym for exercise, you can jog with your dog outdoors.
Volunteer at a Shelter Instead
If you just want to spend time with furry creatures but don’t really have the time to take care of one full time, you can simply volunteer at shelters instead. These shelters, operated by groups such as the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) or Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (CARA) Welfare Philippines, are always looking for additional people to help out. They may only ask for a certain number of hours per month. But hey, devoting only a set number of hours to volunteer is still better than getting a pet you can’t properly take care of due to time constraints. It’s also way cheaper, more meaningful than going to a dog or cat café for food and drinks.
To volunteer at PAWS, simply check out their Volunteer page for their orientation dates.
As you can see, even if taking care of a pet while juggling other responsibilities is challenging, it’s not impossible. By having these considerations in mind, you and your pet will surely have a fulfilling life.