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Cats or Dogs?

If you or your children don't have the time to devote to a dog, consider getting a cat. A dog is like a child, and you should not let it be raised by the help.

Your children really want a pet at home, but you don't think it is such a great idea. Your house is not really large enough for a dog, or you don't think you will have the time to take it out for regular walks. Should you, perhaps, consider getting a cat?

Lalitha lived in a busy, large joint family, and bought a dog because the kids wanted one. Pretty soon the kids tired of the dog as they had plenty of company their age at home, and the task of taking the dog for walks was relegated to the driver. For a few years the dog just spent day after day running around the house, being looked after and fed by the servants. One day he fell ill, and no one noticed, and before his fourth birthday he died.

Buying a dog is a commitment. Here is what you should do personally for your dog, and if you feel you don't have the time, then don't go in for one:

1. If your dog is unwell, make sure you or your kids will have the time to     take him to the vet. Don't just send the dog to the vet with the driver.

2. A family member should take the dog for a walk at least once a day.     Don't send the dog for a walk with the servants all the time. Think of     your dog as your child. On the other hand, if you live in a safe     neighbourhood, you could even consider sending your cat out by herself     for a walk. She can happily roam the neighbourhood and return only for     her bowl of milk. She can come and go as she pleases and be happy.     However, make sure your cat is not very expensive and there is no     danger of her being kidnapped.

3. Don't buy a dog that requires a lot of exercise, and keep him in a small     home unless you have access to a lawn or a place where you can take     him everyday and let him run around a lot. You don't want him to feel     caged. He will only get frustrated and may turn wild and difficult.

4. Although dogs are family pets, try and ensure that the dog actually     'belongs' to one member of the family, who has the time to devote to     the dog, and who is completely responsible for it.

Cats are independent creatures, while a dog is completely dependent on you. If you have a dog at home, he will long to be with you and to spend as much time with you as possible. So if you or your children will not have a lot of time to devote to the dog, don't keep one. It is unfair to the animal, because you will be denying him the love he could have received from someone else who has more time to give him. On the other hand, cats don't really care if you spend all your free time with them or not. Contrary to myth, they do love you, but they are not dependent on you in order to feel happy. They are happy even if left to themselves.

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