Updated: Apr 10, 2021
Should U........? I have this discussion regularly with my friends, yes of course there's far bigger issues circling around us as always at present, but then discussions often come back to your family. And that's the point, pets and particularly dogs and cats very quickly become a key part of your family. Just look at the outpouring of emotion when a family pet passes away - it hurts!
Growing Up - How times have changed, when a group of long time friends (and I mean we've known each other since birth - very proud of that!) no longer talk about going out, holidays, the opposite sex and crazy career aspirations. Conversations now inevitably revolve around our gorgeous families and so the debate around the perfect pooch or cutest cat often come up.
We've always had dogs, Springer Spaniels actually in our family when growing up. I remember going on what seemed like epic adventures (in the back garden) with my Dog at a young age. Bungo Baggins (Dogs name) accompanied me everywhere: on adventures, to sports fixtures and even to meet up with my first girlfriend (weird?!).
SO - what can a pet provide? For me dogs bring a sense of calm, a feeling of relaxation and they draw you into the present and remind you of your sense of self - and wow have we needed that more than ever over the past year! If you talk to people who've sadly lost a pet, they also talk about how they've lost a companion: a walking partner, a garden buddy or someone to chat to (when no one's around of course!).
Emotional intelligence and Empathy - Look at this chap (picture above): what's he thinking? And there, there it is.... dogs (and cats) force you to stop thinking about your self. They force you to put your ego aside and think of someone else. We have two young children and through playing and being around our dog they are learning about emotional intelligence and empathy (as well as the need to look after her, care for her and show her affection when needed - and not just when they feel like it - it's unconditional).
So - Should U? YES - if you have the time to care for a dog/ cat like you would other members of your family. Yes - if you want to provide your kids with daily opportunities to explore emotional intelligence and empathy. Yes - if you want unconditional love, support and comfort which pets provide in bucket loads. For me it's a no brainer, but it needs to be right for your family.
Please do your research and take your time before looking to purchasing any pet. Ensure any breeder you contact is registered. Sites such as the RSPCA website, Our Family Dog and cats.org.uk provide really good advice if you are looking into buying a pet.