As many are aware dogs and cats have been a part of our lives for years. For many people, we grew up with them and besides our parents and siblings are the first loves of our lives. However, some people haven’t been able to enjoy the companionship of these furry ones either due to personal/family member’s allergies or due to lack of space. This doesn’t mean that you must miss out!

If you desire “fur babies”, but cats or dogs are not possible. Consider “pocket pets” species like rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets or rats. I have met many in my career with unique personalities that rival many dogs. They many times don’t take up a lot space and many pet stores can help get you started with minimum up-front investment. It should be noted that life expectancy is not as long as their traditional counterparts and they can hide illness better also. But beyond annual wellness exams and treatment by a veterinarian with experience with them, they don’t have a lot of medical costs. There are other options for your companion, including hedgehogs, sugar gliders, turtles/tortoises, snakes or birds and many others. Some species may not have the extensive medical information of their diseases though, so be patient with the vet you see.

If these species or your situation still doesn’t afford you to ability to have your own: consider fostering, donating your time (or money) to a rescue or shelter. There are rescues for different breeds of dogs and species, some are based here in the Fox Valley area.

Dr. Jain