Choosing To Be Pet-Free
Pets are such an awesome addition to the family. Coming home to a happy dog wagging its tail with excitement to see you or a cat who curls up on your lap and purrs is a wonderful experience.
Kids can learn so much from watching a pet lizard catch and eat crickets or a pet snake shed its skin. The reasons to have pets are numerous.
If pets are so awesome, why doesn’t my family have a pet? Well, the reasons for not having pets are also numerous.
Pets are a huge responsibility.
Depending on the type of pet, they can live for years and through those years you are responsible for every part of their lives. You are responsible for feeding, grooming, veterinarian visits, and cleaning up after pets.
Are pets worth it? Absolutely, depending on your life situation.
Is it nice to not have the responsibility of being a pet owner? Again, absolutely depending on your life situation.
Here is why we’ve made the decision to be pet-free at this point in our lives.
My Love of Pets Started Young
Growing up I always wanted to have a dog. Throughout my childhood, we had several cats but they were mostly outdoor cats and always seemed to disappear after a few years. I loved those cats with all my heart but I still always wanted a dog. My parents finally gave in and we got a dog when I was a teenager. Yay! I wasn’t the kind of teenager that you had to beg to take the dog for a walk, I took Molly hiking any chance I could get.
Molly had a good long life but I moved away from home when she was only a few years old. I then desperately wanted a dog of my own. But, I knew the timing wasn’t right. I was moving around a lot and wasn’t sure where I would end up after college.
Luckily, I had several different roommates in college who had dogs. They didn’t mind if I took their dog for a hike or jog.
Chad and I spent quite a few years traveling to Alaska in the summer and Utah or Colorado in the winter. We both wanted a dog but knew that while we were moving so much having a dog would be hard. Getting a dog was high on our priority list as soon as Chad got a year-round job in Colorado and we decided to live there full-time.
Finding a rental that takes pets is extremely challenging where we live. Although Chad and I both really wanted a dog, we agreed that we would wait until we owned our own place before getting one. We didn’t have to wait too long because we bought a condo months after we decided to stay year-round in Colorado.
Days after buying our condo we went to the local animal shelter and brought home the new member of our family – Kaia dog.
Kaia was timid and scared for the first few years but eventually turned out to be the best dog ever. Because we didn’t have kids, we treated Kaia like she was our baby. We took her everywhere with us. Road trips, camping, and hiking. We’d even find dog-friendly hotels in downtown Denver and bring Kaia with us when we’d stay in Denver for Rockies games.
Travel as a Dog Owner
We discovered soon after getting Kaia that it takes a lot of extra planning to travel when you own a dog. If you are taking your dog with you, you need to find pet-friendly hotels. If you leave your dog at home you need to make arrangements for dog care while you are gone. Whether it be a boarding facility, a friend coming to your house, or taking your dog to a friend’s house.
It worked out great that a lot of our friends were at the same point in their lives as us. No kids and one dog. We’d take our friends’ dogs when they went out of town and our friends would do the same for us. We’d sometimes be watching several dogs at a time.
Eli and Kaia Dog
Then, suddenly Kaia wasn’t our only baby. Along came Eli.
Kaia loved Eli from the moment he came home from the hospital. Eli seemed to feel the same way about Kaia. Even as a toddler, he was always gentle and nice to her.
Kaia lived a happy and long dog life. Toward the end of her life, she had a really hard time walking. We decided to put her down when Eli was almost four. It was really sad for me and Chad but Eli didn’t seem too concerned. I guess three years old is too young to understand the finality of death.
Choosing to be Pet-Free
Kaia passed away right around the time I quit my job and became a full-time stay-at-home mom. When those two things happened, our travel availability opened up immensely. We didn’t have to try to schedule travel around two different work schedules and we didn’t have to worry about finding someone to watch our dog when we were gone.
The freedom felt so good!
We could get a last-minute hotel room in Denver and head down to a Rockies game. Or, a last-minute cheap flight to visit family in Vegas, Washington, or Alaska and not have to worry about making arrangements for someone to watch our dog.
Everyone would ask us “when are you going to get another dog?” and we found our answer to be “we’re not”.
We’ll never regret having Kaia dog but we are loving the freedom to travel at this point in our lives and not have the responsibilities of owning a pet. We have always traveled, but since we’ve been pet-free we have started traveling more than ever.
Will we ever get another pet? I can’t say it will never happen, but for now, we are happy to be pet-free.
*2023 Update- Since writing this post, we’ve moved to Hawaii (something that was much easier without a pet) and we are still pet-free. Well, mostly pet-free. We do have the occasional gecko in our house.