Mistakes are a part of life. We, as humans, have made them, are making them now and will continue to make them as long as we live. I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes, especially with my pets. The important thing is to keep learning better ways to solve problems as they come up.
I’ve been a life long pet lover. Over the years, I’ve become much more aware of them as beings with thoughts, feelings, fears and souls. Because of past ideas, I’ve done or not done things that I would do much differently now. Experience has opened my eyes to better ways.
These are some of the mistakes I’ve made. I can say that now because I’ve learned from them and have tried to become a better person.
Mistake 1; a pet is just a thing
As far as I knew, pets didn’t have feelings. Or think. Or need to be loved. I’d just pay attention when it was convenient and then ignore them again.
But then I noticed it! When I was happy, my pet would look happy too. When I took the time to pet and love on them, I could see on their faces that they felt loved. It worked the other way too. If I was grumpy or sharp with them, they would look hurt. This was not fun to see that part, but I learned from it.
Mistake 2; pets should know what to do
They were supposed to just know how to potty outside or in a litter box or to walk on a lead. I didn’t know I had to put the time in to teach them what I wanted them to do.
Then I got desperate. I didn’t know why my cat wouldn’t use the litter box. I thought they just knew. You put a litter box down and they’d go potty. Didn’t work that way. Somebody told me to train them. Train them? Oh. I tried it and after a little time it worked.
Fortunately for my pets, I’ve figured out more ways to teach them what I expect of them. I still have a lot more to learn, but I’m willing to try since each pet is a work in progress.
Mistake 3; Pets need good food; not just to be fed
I knew pets needed to be fed, but I didn’t put any thought into it. I could buy big bags of food at the grocery store and call it good. The cheaper, the better.
In recent years, people have talked about different types of feeding. They’ve talked about the effects of good or bad food on the look and feel of a pet. And then there are all the recalls. The more I read, the more I realized the potential problems. I made it a goal to feed my dogs in the best way I could find.
Mistake 4; vet trips are only for emergencies
Vets were necessary for vaccines, spaying and obvious emergencies. Otherwise, they were to be avoided. Until recently, I never realized that involving the vet in your pet’s life would lead to a better life for your pet.
The vet can help coordinate diet, maintain teeth or form a plan of care for a long term issue, as well as give vaccines and treat emergencies. Enlisting their help can prevent all kinds of issues in the future.
Mistake 5; what relationship?
It never occurred to me that building an actual relationship with my pets might help us avoid problems. I just thought they were being naughty if they didn’t come when they were called or if they pottied in the house.
Turns out, the more time I invest in understanding and loving each of my animals, the more we appreciate each other. They know what to expect from me and I know what to expect from them. Sure does make things nicer.
So many times, I look back and wish I’d known then what I know now. I can’t go back and redo it, but I can start fresh going forward. Fortunately for my current pets, I am applying everything I’ve learned as best as I can in order to make their lives better.
I look at the whole animal now, as much as I can. I’m not perfect, but I am certainly trying to grow every day.