What to Consider When Getting a Pet


Professor Aubrey Fine with his dog, Ketzy at the Aratani Japanese Garden at Cal Poly Pomona.
Professor Aubrey Fine with his dog, Ketzy at the Aratani Japanese Garden at Cal Poly Pomona.

Professor Aubrey Fine’s new book includes a chapter that serves as a guide for anyone considering getting a pet. Any such discussion should include examining your life circumstances, Fine says, such as:

  • How much time you have to devote to a pet?
  • Can you afford pet food and veterinary care?
  • Who will take care of the pets if you have to travel?
  • What kind of pet best fits the age of your children?
  • How will you include children in the decision-making process so they will be committed to caring for the pet?

In total, Fine says, these questions add up to a larger point: How do you get an animal to become part of the family?

“Think about it. If we were having this conversation 50 years ago, dogs are in the backyard. So they’ve gone from the backyard to our bedrooms,” he says. “They’ve gone from property to family members.”