Are you one of those rare birds who does not yet have a pet? According to the Gay and Lesbian Consumer Online Census, nearly four out of five gay and lesbian folks share their lives and homes with at least one pet.
The survey found that lesbians were more likely than gay men to be pet owners, (87 percent vs. 71 percent), gay men were slightly more likely to own dogs than cats (41 percent vs. 38 percent), and lesbians were more likely to own cats than dogs (60. percent vs. 53 percent. The Humane Society says 73 percent of US households own dogs and cats, period—not even giving props to exotic and rare species…Go figure….
Though LGBT peeps, more often than not, are accused of anthropomorphizing and spoiling our “animal babies,” owning a pet of any kind can be one of the most rewarding things in our lives. Aside from that, you could very well be saving a life if your pet of choice is an animal rescue, and what could be lovelier than that?
Unless a stray wanders onto your doorstep and into your life, planning for your first pet is strongly advised, and there are a few things that you should keep in mind:
- “Honey, Should We Adopt?” People in the United States spend over $36 billion on their pets, but acquiring a pet doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t have to buy purebreds, or specific breeds of any kind. There are more than enough animals in the world who need compassionate, adoptive Moms like you, and loving homes like the one you’ll provide. Pay a visit to your local ASPCA, or call The Humane Society. Your little bundle(s) of joy may just be waiting for you there.
- “It’s Not You, It’s Me! I Need More Space!” There are more than enough animals and breeds that can suit your schedule and lifestyle. From guinea pigs to chickens, horses to rats (it takes all kinds, mkay?), chinchillas, spiders, snakes— to your more common fish, birds, cats and dogs. Most importantly, you need to make sure that you have enough time and space, and the correct environment and climate to commit to caring for one or more animals for the length of their lifespan. If your time and availability is limited, you might want to think about birds, fish, hamsters, or other such sweet critters that require less attention than Fido, or Boo-Boo Kitty.
- “Money Changes Everything.” The bigger the pet, the more expensive its food and vet bills will be. Birds are said to be the easiest to care for, while dogs and horses are pricier. So, think about it: are you sure you have to have a “purebred whatevs?” Basic needs make up just the preliminary costs. You’ll also need to think about vaccinations, flea treatments, grooming, training, toys, and unexpected expenses.
- Create a No-Catfighting Zone. If you’re not home much, it might be best think about introducing two animals into your home at once. But if you do decide to do that, you have to be able to commit dedicate time to encouraging them to hang out together, and hopefully come to love (or tolerate) each other. If you don’t invest the time in the beginning, you’ll wind up having to care for them as two separate entities, which defeats the purpose of your getting two animals in the first place. They didn’t invent the term “cat fights” for nothing!
- Who’s Your Auntie? – Who’ll be the babysitter/primary caregiver while you’re away? This person also needs to commit to the same type of loving care and treatment that you give to your animals when you’re there. This includes holidays—if you can’t take the animal with you—as well as proper feeding and exercise.
Whichever animal you choose, remember than animal companions are good for your health, and your loving care is great for theirs.
Resources for LGBT Animal Guardians
Like Groupon for pet owners. Online deals and flash sales sites for pet needs and supplies.
Over the Rainbow Shop
This online destination sells itty bitty wittle outfits to keep your pets warm, and gear for you too.
Gay Pride Pet Clothing Search @Zazzle
Don’t laugh and don’t front: you’ll be prepping for your poolside party and you (or someone you know and love) will suddenly have a cray cray urge to dress your animal babies up in rainbow gear. Find several LGBT-themed pet accessories including rainbow tags, collars, leashes and toys. Straight up adorbs.
Animals, kids and pet-owners-to be love these virtual buddies that aren’t quite the real thing, but are an incredible simulation.
October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month. To show your support at the ASPCA, click here: http://www.aspca.org/adopt/adopt-a-shelter-dog-month