How to Love Your Pet in Lieu of a Significant Other

If finding the perfect human companion hasn’t panned out, perhaps turning to the animal world for your new BFF will provide you with the love and friendship you’ve long desired. Before you run out and get a dog, cat, reptile or bird to fill the spot, identify which type of animal friend will become the apple of your eye.


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    Select the right companion. Selecting the right kind of pet is key to finding a new “family member.” Before deciding on a particular animal, take several factors into consideration when choosing your new BFF.
    • Consider your lifestyle. Are you a homebody and someone who likes to spend time gardening in your backyard or lounging on the porch reading or are you hardly at home and tend to travel a lot? Dogs require more care and attention than other pets, such as a cat, reptile or bird so take a close look at how much time you will be able to spend with your pet.
    • Evaluate your living space. Not only is your time important, but also your space. Do you live in a 600 square foot walk up in the middle of a metropolitan city or is your home set on an acre of land? Obviously smaller animals will do well in smaller spaces, however certain large breeds of dogs may also thrive in small apartments with the right attention and availability to exercise.
    • Make sure you aren’t allergic. Unfortunately some people are highly allergic to certain types of pets. If you aren’t sure whether you may have pet allergies, visit your physician for a quick and easy allergy test before you set your heart on a specific type of animal.
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    Conduct adoption research. Once you know which type of animal you think would be the best type of companion, do you research to pinpoint the exact breed and place to adopt the pet.
    • Animal rescue. One of the most rewarding ways to adopt an animal is through a rescue organization. In addition to the Humane Society, numerous animal advocacy organizations throughout the world are dedicated to placing a variety of animals with loving homes.
    • Private breeder. Some folks prefer to work through a private breeder. Keep in mind that a private breeder may be more expensive and it is important to do your research before settling on a specific breeder. In some cases animals may be in-bred to achieve a certain type of disposition or intelligence level, however in-breeding can present certain health problems--which may present financial challenges.
    • Adoption through a friend. In some cases a friend or a friend of a friend who can no longer care for an animal may be looking for a loving home. Check online for message boards or classifieds for pet owners looking to place their beloved animal.
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    Compare the advantage of a having a pet versus a significant other. One of the best ways to realize the advantages of having a pet versus a significant other is to analyze the benefits.
    • Unconditional love. Animals are full of unconditional love and adoration--no matter what. Unlike coming home to a possibly grumpy girlfriend or boyfriend, a pet is almost always in great mood, thrilled to see you come through the door every evening.
    • Total acceptance for who you are. Your pet isn’t going to care that you’ve put on a few pounds or have a gigantic zit--your pet loves you…blemishes and all.
    • No pressure to “change” to accommodate another person’s standards of a boyfriend/girlfriend. Sometimes a girlfriend or boyfriend may demand a few changes in their significant other’s life. From spending less time with pals to dressing differently, human companions may not be able to help themselves, whereas your pet loves you for who you are.
    • Never moody or brings drama home. A pet won’t come home and take the stress from work out on you or fly into a depression because his/her best friend stabbed him/her in the back. Pets are no drama, which makes loving them even easier.
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    Plan activities and spend time with your pet. Plan plenty of bonding opportunities with your pet by spending time together.
    • Meet other people who appreciate your type of pet for social interaction. Search for clubs that support your pet appreciation or if you are a dog owner, visit a dog park or check events through your local pet store. If you plan to bring your pet to interact with other pets, check the environment out first and be sure your animal is up-to-date with vaccinations. If you are planning to go to a dog park, make sure it’s clear of dogs that appear to be aggressive. Also, consider a park that has small and large dog sections.
    • Make sure your “best friend” is always with you whether you are in bed reading or on the couch watching T.V. Have a pet bed or blanket next to your favorite relaxation spot at home. Make sure your best friend is by your side while you relax.
    • Take a class with your pet for further training. Spend more time with your pet by taking an obedience training class or a course that will help you learn more about the species. Investigate classes through your local vet or pet stores.


  • Give your pet a human name such as “Bill” or “Lisa” to humanize the animal.
  • Although you may be tempted, avoid dressing your pet in costumes (unless you own a hairless animal that requires protection from the sun). Pets know when they are being humiliated and wearing a costume ranks high on the humiliation meter.
  • While a pet may be a nice substitute for a human mate, keep in mind that it is an animal and that you are the pack leader. Don’t let the animal run the show (or else he/she will run you).


  • If you eventually find that significant other, don’t abandon or turn your back on your beloved pet--remember, you made him/her part of your family. Instead teach your new sweetheart to love your pet too.

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Categories: Relationship Issues