According to the American Pet Products Association, the average dog costs $1,500 a year and the average cat costs $1,200 per year. According to experts, if you own a cat, you should be spending at least 30 minutes, twice a day playing with your pet. The time is doubled if you have a dog, as they need to be exercised as well as socialized. If you are trying to juggle work, school, kids, errands, chores, etc., owning a pet may seem like a daunting task when looking at the cost and the time you need to invest. However, if you are truly interested in adding a pet to your family, you can still find one that will suit your needs. It may not be that chocolate lab puppy your kids have been pressing you for, but there are many pets that will fit your lifestyle.

Think small and low energy. If you have your heart set on a dog, but don’t have a ton of extra time or space for a dog, think about adopting a dog that is small and has low energy needs. Small dogs eat less, poop less, and some don’t require as much exercise. Pugs, for example, are a low-energy breed and won’t need as much walking. You can also adopt an older, more mellow dog who isn’t as active, but will still be a loving companion to you and your family.

Think feline. Let’s face it, cats are easier. They don’t need to go for walks, are easy to litter box train , and they groom themselves, so they don’t need to be bathed. If you keep them inside, they don’t require as many vaccines, which lowers their cost of care. In addition, they are just as happy playing with an expensive toy as they are a cardboard box and a wad of wax paper. No wonder cats are now the most popular pet in America–with 74 million of them being owned.

Think thumper. Rabbits have the social quality of a dog-like companion. And, like cats, rabbits can be litter box trained very easily and don’t need to be walked. Furthermore, rabbits’ schedules match up with people schedules. Our furry friends are most active at dawn and dusk, which corresponds well with the times most of us are starting our day or getting home from work and ready to have our pets entertain us with their antics.

Consider a smaller pet. Animals such as reptiles, rodents, and fish are easy to care for and they require little veterinary care. Many small pets–such as guinea pigs–can be very social and even recognize your smell and start squeaking with excitement when you are near.

If you are serious about adding a pet to your family, but are strapped for time, please do your research first to make sure that the pet you choose is the right fit for you as adopting a pet should be for the lifetime of that animal. Once you are ready, visit your area animal shelter or check out for more information.


Free Vaccine Clinic: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

C.A.R.E.4Paws hosts a free vaccine event for dogs and cats Saturday, September 28, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., in Lompoc, (place TBD). Low-income pet owners will have a chance to sign their pets up for a free spay or neuter and to learn about C.A.R.E.4Paws’ many other services. Fore more information, visit

Adoptable Pet of the Week

Little John

Little John is shy when you first meet him but once he is comfortable with his surroundings he is a real cuddle bug. He is about four years old and has already been neutered. He would do best in a home with older, considerate children and no dogs. However, he might not mind a cat friend to hang around with. He loves to be pet and is a mellow kitty with a heart of gold. Come in and visit Little John today!

For more information, visit the Santa Barbara Humane Society, 5399 Overpass Rd., Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; call 805-964-4777; or check out


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