Adding a four legged family member to your home means extra expenses and extra work for everyone. We sat down with COUNTRY Financial employee, and father of triplets, Rick Halberg, to discuss why he and his wife decided that pets AND triplets were a good idea.
What made your family consider getting their first pet? Within a month or two of our marriage, we already had two dogs and two cats. Once the kids came along, we wanted them to have as much love and respect for animals as we did.
How old were your kids when you got your first pet? When we brought our triplets home from the hospital we had two cats, so the kids grew up with them. We wanted a dog, but felt it would need a little more attention. By the time the kids were in kindergarten, we felt that, as a family, we were ready to adopt a dog.
Did you adopt a pet or go through a private seller? There was really no decision other than to adopt a pet from a shelter. For one thing, shelters do so much of the legwork for you. Before their pets are ready for adoption, most shelters have learned the age of the pet, their temperament around kids and other pets, and the condition of their health. Many have already had their vaccinations, have been dewormed, and neutered or spayed.
How does having pets affect your family budget? We typically budget $75 - $100/month for pet maintenance, which includes food, vet bills, grooming, and other incidentals.
How many pets do you currently have? Two cats (Romeo and Juliet) and one dog (Rufus).
What are the benefits of children having pets? As parents, we’ve always felt that there were two main benefits. First of all, our kids learned to respect animals and treat them with kindness. The second benefit is what your child learns about responsibility.
Bringing a pet into the family is not a decision that should be made lightly but, as the Halbergs can attest, every early morning walk or chewed up shoe is worth the joy they bring to the family.