Are you thinking about adding a pet to your family? It is a huge decision that is not to be taken lightly. Animals are a big responsibility. You will be responsible for this animal for the rest of its life. This will likely mean this choice will affect your family’s life for YEARS. You are adding a family member to your home. This requires time, patience, care, and money. Please check herehere,  and here (yes, this part of the research is so necessary) if you want to look over some questions and scenarios to consider before getting an animal. This must be a family decision, and as parents, we must be prepared to take care of this animal their entire life. 

This author is an expert pet parent. Name an animal, and we have had it. Seriously! Dogs, cats, chickens, hamsters, fish, and reptiles…we have had them all. Please refer to the bio for our current farm. 

Adopt or Buy?

Adopting or buying an animal can be a really a touchy topic for some. Personally, we have adopted, rescued, and bought (new and used…yep, preowned) animals. There is not one path to pet ownership. 

Adoption is the best choice because you are helping an animal in need. Adopting ensures that you are avoiding contributing to the overpopulation problem and helping homeless animals. Need to know how where to go to adopt a pet? Check out the Oregon Humane Society or Petfinder for great ways to check out local rescue groups. 

When you adopt, your adoption fees go to helping even more animals. By adopting, you are saving an animal’s life. Adoption fees are not cheap. Even if you have sticker shock by the adoption fees, it is much cheaper to adopt an animal than to buy an animal or even to get a “free” animal. Our family has two kittens that were abandoned by their feral mother, and paying for all their shots, their neutering, microchipping, and everything else is MORE than double the cost of any local rescue organization that provides those services for you as a part of your adoption fee. Adopting instead of shopping is really where it is at.

However, there are circumstances when you want to buy an animal…this is especially true for some smaller animals. You can check out pet stores, Craigslist, NextDoor, and other sources. We got a three-year-old leopard gecko from Nextdoor. Since leopard geckos have a life span of 15 years, we were happy to take a pet no longer wanted by its original owner. And we found a hamster breeder on Craigslist when we had a hamster. There are lots of ways to add to your family. Think outside of the box. Perhaps you want a particular breed of dog (or any other animal), then finding a reputable breeder may be the best route for you. You want to do your research so you aren’t supporting puppy mills or other undesirable options. Hot tip, there are breed-specific rescue groups as well you definitely should check out. 


We touched a little bit on it already but let’s talk costs. Animals cost a lot to get and maintain. There is food, vet bills, cages, supplies, toys, and of course, adorable clothes and accessories. Here are some cost breakdowns for cats and dogs (and this was before our current inflation). Pets cost a lot of money and for a long time. 

Okay, you decided you want to add to your family. What is the best pet for you and your family?

Types of Animals


This is a great starter pet. (Or is it a gateway pet?) Betta fish and goldfish are some of the easiest animals to take care of. Here is how to take care of bettas. And here is how to take care of goldfish. 


Reptiles may be a scary option for some parents. They can be scary, and the food is typically live worms, crickets, or even baby rodents. Here is a guide on selecting the best reptile for your family. (On a personal note, our leopard gecko is full of personality and our easiest pet. Who knew?) Reptiles generally have long life spans, so consider that in your choice.


Now the word rodent may be scary. We get it! But hamsters are pretty cute, right? The real downside to rodents is a lot of their soiled bedding is pretty stinky, but what an incentive to keep their cages clean. Here is a list of rodents to keep as pets. 


A lot of birds are a major commitment because of their life span. For example, a cockatiel’s life expectancy in captivity is 15-25 years, and it could even live over 30 years old. That is a BIG commitment. Chickens could be a possibility for your family. Chickens typically live 5-10 years. They are a lot of fun, and they also provide eggs for several years. That is a bonus during these times of egg shortages. 


Are you a cat person, a dog person, or both? Cats are great pets. Furry, adorable, and definitely full of personality. They are relatively low maintenance. The litterbox is a drag, the shed, and may scratch things other than their scratching posts. But they are a solid pet choice. Need more information? Check this list about how great cats are. 


Want unconditional love and a built-in BFF? Dogs are great for that! Dogs are not low maintenance. Dogs need exercise, socialization, training, and lots of love. If you don’t do the hard stuff…then it has serious consequences. That hard stuff is worth it because dogs are great companions, and their life expectancies are not nearly long enough. Want some scientific reasons to get a dog? Check this list out.

We are so lucky to be able to share our lives with animals. There are so many different types of animals to choose from. If you want to add to your family, there is a perfect fit for you and your family. We would love to hear about your family and what animals would be best for your life. Good luck finding the perfect fit!