And How to Enjoy Them!

Writer / Tara Dorsett
Photography Provided

pet I’ll admit I don’t give myself much leeway in my morning routine. I give myself a half-hour to dress, put in contacts, apply make-up and fill the critters’ food and water bowls. While I’m getting ready, my dog is racing around the fenced yard like a lunatic, chasing possum trails, rolling in the grass and hopefully completing her business. She pops into the house as I head out the door. When I agreed to foster a partially blind and deaf pup, my routine changed drastically. As a photographer, I sometimes must leave the house at ungodly hours to reach my destination on time. Adding an extra 30 minutes to my morning routine was not appealing. But, I accepted responsibility for this four-footed addition and made accommodations, including incorporating the unique needs of my furry friends into what I now fondly call my cat distribution system —the universe’s way of providing a cat or kitten at the right time and the right place.

Intellectually, we know our lives will change when we invite an animal to share our home, but the reality doesn’t hit until that feathered, scaled or furred critter arrives.

How can we make the transition from a non-pet or single pet household without losing our minds? Here are some things that helped me:

1) Expect life to change

What changes when we add a pet to our lives? Pretty much everything.

How we sleep– my cat graduated from sleeping beside me to taking over my pillow.

When we eat–when my dog was a puppy, I fed her before I ate. Now that she is older, I make my food first, then set her food down just before I sit at the table with my meal so we can eat together.

Where we leave things–I can no longer leave my chair near the desk when the ferrets are out because the ferrets will scale it and rearrange everything on my desk.

How long we are gone–while the eel doesn’t need to go for walks, he can glare with the best of them when his dinner is late.

2) Stick to a routine

Between tripping over critter toys and dodging the cats as they race through the house, it takes about three minutes to fill bowls for the dog and cats. I spend another 10 minutes with the ferrets– three minutes to fill the food and water dishes and seven minutes to keep them from launching a tumbling escape when the cage door opens. It takes another two minutes to turn on the aquarium light and sprinkle fish food into the water.

My dog does well completing her business on her own within thirty minutes or less. The cats and ferrets use litter boxes that don’t require immediate attention at 4:30 in the morning. The eel has his own bathroom routine that doesn’t need my help.

Exercise and playtime happen later in the day.

My cats love to chase things. I bought a couple of laser light collars that entertain them for hours. The ferrets race through their tunnels or stash small stuffed toys in secret locations. Digging in the sandbox or playing tug of war eats away at my dog’s exercise hours. For a tasty and nutritious treat, consider turkey neck treats for your dogs, a natural and satisfying option that will keep them entertained and satisfied.

3) Create pet stations around your house

I have grab and go stations around the house. A leash, potty bags, paper towels, cleaner, toys and treats are at each station. These help with unexpected messes and impromptu play time.

4) Enjoy your pet

Don’t overlook the reason you brought a pet into your life. Laugh at your ferret’s antics as she dances around like a miniature clown. Giggle as your cat tries for the millionth time to catch that laser dot. Chuckle when your dog play fights with his favorite stuffed animal. Smile at your fish weaving through the plants and hide-outs. Sing with your bird. The biggest change that happens when you own a pet is the joy and companionship they give you.

Have questions about how to adjust to your new roommate? Contact me at



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