Furry Friends: Picking a Pet With Your Partner
Bringing a pet in to the home can be a source of great joy and fulfillment, just make sure you are prepared for the time, money and effort.

Bringing a pet in to the home can be a source of great joy and fulfillment, just make sure you are prepared for the time, money and effort.

As your relationship with your partner continues to grow and change over the years, you probably are constantly looking forward to the next big step. From getting married to buying a home together, there are many milestones that couples face. If you are thinking about expanding your family but do not feel prepared to have a child, then you may be considering a pet. Bringing a furry friend into your home can totally transform your lives for the better. Of course, you first need to take time to ensure this is the right fit for your needs.

Do You Have Time For A Pet?

The biggest question you both need to ask when you want to get a pet is whether you have time for the commitment. A pet is a lot of work and can demand a lot of your energy. This goes double when you wish for a very young animal like a puppy or a kitten. Not only will you need to put a lot of time into training the little guy, you also will find that it takes a whole lot of energy. When you work all the time, a pet is not a sensible fit.

Beyond the early days of training, your pet will require a set amount of time from you each day. A dog, for example, needs to be taken on several lengthy walks each day. This means you need to be ready to go outdoors for a bathroom break with your pup even when it is raining, snowing, or the middle of the night. A cat is less demanding in this way, but not without a fair share of daily responsibilities. From regular feedings to litterbox maintenance, cats can have just as many time-consuming needs as dogs.

Financial Thoughts

Having enough time for this investment is only the tip of the iceberg. A pet may not be anywhere near as expensive as a child, but this does not mean getting one is a cheap endeavor. When you first get a little puppy or kitty to bring into your home, you will need to put down a lot of money. Typically, early expenses for a pet include immunizations, basic vet services, spaying and neutering operations, foods, toys, vital accessories related to bodily functions like leashes and litterboxes, and several other key items.

What’s more, certain expenses recur on a regular basis. Just as you need to eat multiple times each day to remain strong and healthy, so does your pet. While your dog may eat the same meal every day, you still need to go out and buy your pup’s food when it runs low. Surprise expenses like vet visits can also appear out of nowhere, which can sometimes be financially demanding. Before making your final decision, think about whether your budget reflects the true costs associated with giving a pet a comfortable life. Moreover, keep in mind that as your animal ages, the medical costs associated with their health will most assuredly go up.

Adoption Is a Must

Finally, consider adoption. Statistics state that there are more homeless pets around the world than ever before. Shelters are constantly inundated with dogs and cats from families who made irresponsible choices or decided pet ownership was “too much” for them to handle. While you can purchase your pet from a breeder, adopting may turn out to be a superior choice. With so many animals in need of love and a forever home, there is absolutely no need to pay for a designer pet. Make the right choice and visit your local shelter to learn more.

Bringing a pet into your relationship can be a wonderful decision. Before you get ahead of yourself though, think about the responsibilities that come along with owning a pet. By doing some preliminary research, you will know whether you are ready for the exciting milestone of welcoming the first family pet into your home.

Saint Francis and Animal Blessings
Saint Francis of Assisi

After his death, Saint Francis was made the patron saint of animals and ecology.

If you’re one of the millions of people who enjoy animal videos online, you’re going to appreciate Saint Francis of Assisi. He lived in the late 12th century into the 13th century, during a time of great unrest in the Middle East. Francis upset his family when his life took a turn toward poverty and the priesthood. He would renounce his wealth and his family in order to serve God. When Francis was canonized after his death, he was made the patron saint of animals and ecology. His love of nature and all creatures makes him someone to remember even today. 

Saint Francis and His Legacy

In 1989, Liliana Cavani directed Mickey Rourke in “Francesco,” an Italian film which follows Francis’ life from a son of a wealthy silk merchant in Italy to a soldier in the army who would be captured in a war. Francis would later become a humanitarian and give up his family’s wealth to serve God. The film won three major awards and is a great representation of his life.

During the Fifth Crusade, Francis would attempt to mediate peace between the Christians and Muslims. Although he was unsuccessful, the Franciscans, his order of monks, were given permission to have a presence in the Holy Land. Since the 13th century, the Franciscans have almost steadily been the “Custodians of the Holy Land” for the Catholic Church.

El Greco painted a beautiful rendition of “Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata.” Saint Francis is said to have received five wounds similar to those that Christ received when he hung on the cross. Although many historians now believe he was stricken with leprosy, at the time it was considered to be a sign of exceptional religious faith.

Saint Francis has inspired many other works of art and music. As recently as 2005, Lewis Nielson composed a concerto for violin, called, “St. Francis Preaches to the Birds.” One of Bernard Malamud’s novels features a main character who lives the life of Saint Francis in Brooklyn during the 20th century.

Francis is remembered as a great poet and writer. Not only do his poems and works have religious value, but also literary value. This is the first few lines of “Canticle of the Sun,” believed to be one of the first works of literature written in Italian:

“Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!

All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

“To You, alone, Most High, do they belong.

No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.

“Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures,

especially through my lord Brother Sun,

who brings the day; and You give light through him.

And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!

Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.”

It was written in the Umbrian dialect and translated into English for us to appreciate.

Your Pet Is an Important Member of Your Family

The church celebrates Saint Francis of Assisi on October 4, commonly with services that include blessings for animals. In many paintings, Saint Francis is portrayed with a bird in his hand because legend has it that he commanded the animals. One legend tells the tale of a wolf who lay down at his feet. Francis is thought to have worked out a pact with the wolf and the town dogs to protect the townspeople. He blessed the wolf.

Pope John Paul II referenced Saint Francis in 1982 on World Environment Day, reminding people to care and to love all of creation, to offer a healthy environment for those who come after us. Everyone can get behind being green and eco-conscious to protect our animals and the plants. You don’t have to be Christian to appreciate Saint Francis of Assisi.