a picture of Major, a Shetland Sheepdog

People are not the only residents in our homes. The non-human varieties are pets when we want them and pests when we don't.

Relatively common
dogs cats rabbits guinea pigs
gerbils fish birds lizards
Less common/pests
snakes rats mice miniature pigs turtles
frogs snails spiders chickens seahorses
horses goats sheep ants (ant farm) "sea monkeys" (brine shrimp)
ferrets iguanas tarantulas chickens triops
lamb llama squirrel hermit crab

In some residences, such as a farm, animals may serve other purposes.


A turtle pet

Testing readiness

In a rather classic scenario, children want pets, promise to care for them, but then find that the responsibility is more onerous than they expected. A child's readiness for a pet can be "tested" by temporarily caring for someone else's pet (such as pet sitting for a neighbor), caring for an electronic pet for a couple of weeks or doing another household chore reliably and without more than a few basic reminders.

Rescue pets

There are many animals in need of a home. Are you willing to save an animal that was abandoned by its previous owners or can no longer do the work it used to do (such as racing greyhounds)? Each time a pet is purchased from a "breeder", the pet is obtained in lieu of a kennel pet that may be forced to kill the unadopted animals after a relatively short period of time.


  • Is the residence large enough?
  • Are the pets allowed in the residence?
    For example, some apartments don't allow pets or charge extra for them.
  • Care and maintenance requirements.
  • Expenses -- special food, medical care, cages, toys, etc.
  • Does anyone in the home have allergies?


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