Miniature dachshund portrait, Pet ownership checklist, estoimage photography

Gaspard, by Leino Ole. www.estoimage.com

Anyone who’s got a pet knows they come with their own kit – the food, the toys, vet visits, playtime, beds etc. Pets can give you a wonderful return like no other on your investment. Nothing is sadder though, than a pet that is neglected or resented out of a lack of planning. Anyone who is contemplating getting a pet will want to think through the downloadable Pet Ownership Checklist to make sure they will truly ‘fit’ into your life.

But first, here is a pet tale from our family. I’ve owned dogs (we have one adorable miniature dachshund now, pictured above), hamsters (I kept one in my university dorm room!) and fish (albeit for not quite as long as anticipated). We briefly contemplated adding a leopard gecko to our family but it didn’t quite ‘fit’.

It’s critical to have enough time to devote to the care of your pet.

As you can imagine, you have to be available not only to feed your pet, but to purchase the food. For our dog, this means picking up a large bag of food every 6 weeks – pretty easy to accommodate. Gaspard gets fed at breakfast and dinner – right after we eat (that’s a recommended practice since you are the alpha dog, right?), and that suits our lifestyle well. Not all animals are so easy.

Leopard Gecko. Cute.

Last year, my son talked about wanting a leopard gecko for months, and it was no surprise when we saw it on his Christmas list. When compared to the plethora of electronic devices listed there, the leopard gecko started looking good. So we began to research. I gave my son the project of figuring out how expensive it would be to purchase, care for and maintain the gecko. The gecko passed our budget test, but it became clear that feeding the gecko was going to be a challenge on two fronts.

Acquiring the food Geckos eat crickets, and preferably live crickets, which means that the wee flying, chirping insects have to be picked up from the pet store every two weeks. Unless you also want to get into raising crickets – not! For me, this meant incorporating a half hour errand into an already busy schedule every two weeks. This is not something I was excited about doing, but for my son, I was prepared to take that on.

Feeding the critter I went to the local pet store and bought a ‘kit’ with all the supplies before Christmas. The kit was on sale, as many pet items are before Christmas. Be wary of this! Look for healthy refund and exchange options. I held off buying the gecko however, until I had a chance to take my son to the store to see how comfortable he was at managing crickets. “If you can put 3 crickets into a plastic bag on your own”, I informed him, “you can go ahead and choose your gecko.”

Cricket. Slightly less cute.

Well, am I glad we did that! Turns out that he is not fond of crickets at all.  And he couldn’t convince his younger sister, who was an esteemed grasshopper collector last summer, to come to his aid. So, the leopard gecko was a no go.

Phew!

Hamsters have since taken the place of the gecko on the wish list. And so the research begins again.

Anyone looking for a professional portrait of their family in the Milton, Ontario area will be thrilled to visit Leino Ole’s child and pet friendly studio.  www.estoimage.com