It’s no secret. I love animals. I love them so much that I have made them the focal point of my entire career. I don’t go anywhere without my dog KoKo, as she is a part of me, and I want her to experience all the joys of everyday life that I do. She is so very beneficial to me, and as I am beneficial to her. That, my friends, is called the human-animal bond, and there are studies that are constantly coming out that support this relationship.

Then there are times when I must advocate for a pet’s well-being, and sometimes, that is sadly not always with a human. With Easter on Sunday, I am hoping that my readers have filled their children’s and grandchildren’s Easter baskets with chocolate bunnies only. Why? Because it is so sad to see the number of rabbits that end up in shelters, or worse on the street, after Easter has come and gone and people realize that they do not want the responsibility of having a pet anymore. Yes, it happens. And yes, it happens to all pets, from birds to cats to dogs to rabbits, which is why it is so important to really do your homework to make sure you are prepared and able to bring a pet into your home.

Here are some things to think about before getting a pet:

It’s a COMMITMENT but the best one to make.

Did you know domestic rabbits can easily live for 8 years, and many up to 12 years? That is a long time. I recently lost my beloved dog. KARTU (who left for the Rainbow Bridge), and she was with me for over 16 years! Make sure you are thinking about the present and the future when choosing a pet because many will be with you for a lot of years, which is fortunate! I wish I had MORE years with KARTU! One option to consider is adopting an older dog from a shelter. There are many reasons why adopting a senior dog is awesome!

It’s an EXPENSE but money well spent.

Pets are not inexpensive. Some expenses to note are food, toys, treats, grooming, medication, veterinary bills. Rabbits and other animals need a cage, which can be pricey. Research the costs specific to the pet you are thinking about getting and see if it their needs fit into your budget. It is not fair to the pet (nor to you because you do get attached!) to realize after the fact that you can’t afford to keep them or care for them properly.

It’s a LIFE CHANGER, but worth it. 

Think about your life and if a pet will be able to be a part of it. Do you work long hours? Do you have busy kids and are always on the go? Do you travel? Do you have the space? Only you know the intricate details of your everyday life and if you can add a pet into it. If you don’t want to make any changes, then maybe it is not the time to get a pet. If you are ready to make some changes so that you can accommodate the needs of a pet, you will see that it is worth it. But know that pets are life changing. There are so many different pets to consider, and it is important to assess your life and pick a pet that works best for you.

So, if you aren’t ready it is okay to stick with the chocolate bunny this Easter!

Gayle Martz is the SilverDisobedience Pet Ambassador who will be sharing her insight on a variety of pet-related topics. Gayle is the founder of The SHERPA Pet Trading Company, where she single-handedly designed, manufactured and marketed the iconic SHERPA Bag you see everywhere! This carrier, which millions have bought for their dogs, cats and other animal companions, continues to be THE top-selling, prize-winning, globally-popularly soft-sided pet carrier. Further, it is because of Gayle’s advocacy and entrepreneurship that pet travel on airlines is now possible and common. Gayle’s the author of “IT’S IN THE BAG”, which is part memoir and part business book.