PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Pets: Getting Permission

Okay, so you know you want a pet, but the adults in your life aren't so sure. How do you convince them that you're ready? First of all, you have to prove that you're responsible. Here are a few ways you can do it:

  • Do your chores when you're supposed to -- don't wait until you're asked twice
  • Do your homework on time and keep your grades up
  • Keep your room clean
  • Take good care of your things
  • Be respectful of other people's feelings, privacy, and stuff
  • Keep your promises. If you say you're going to do something, like take out the trash or babysit your little sis-do it.

Another way to show a parent that you're capable is to learn everything you can about the pet you want. Come armed with information. Find out about the animal's background, learn its habits and characteristics, how well it gets along with families and other animals, what it eats and drinks, and what kind of supplies you'll need. You can use this Pet Info Sheet to help you document your findings.

Next, you need to figure out how much things like pet supplies, healthcare, and licensing fees will cost. Our Pet Expenses Sheet can help you tally expenses. Bring this sheet to a parent so he or she can see you've really thought about how much is involved in owning a pet. You may also want to offer some of your own allowance or babysitting money to go towards the cost.

Let your family members know your plan for taking care of your pet. Use our Weekly Pet Care Schedule to show them what needs to be done to properly care for your pet and tell them what you'll personally be responsible for. This would be a good time to talk about things you might need help with -- like giving the dog a bath, flea-dipping the cat, and getting animals to the vet for regular check-ups.

One idea is to approach your family members with a few pet options and discuss their differences and pros vs. cons together, until you all agree on the type of animal that's best for your family.

Find out what expectations and rules your parents have regarding pets and promise to abide by them.

You may also want to give them the facts on how many homeless animals there are, which you can find at http://www.petpopulation.org. Explain how your family can help make a difference by opening your hearts to an animal who deserves a good home.

If you have siblings who also want a pet, work together to convince your parents that you're all responsible. Research together and promise to share the responsibility. Each of you can fill out a Weekly Pet Care Schedule to highlight your individual responsibilities.

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