DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I’m very excited, because we adopted a puppy this week! Do you have any advice for a new pet owner? — James C., Dallas
DEAR JAMES: Congratulations! I recently mentioned to the new owner of a cat that it’s important to schedule an appointment with the veterinarian as soon as possible to make sure it is healthy, and to get its vaccinations.
Once that’s done, pick up a few books on training and caring for your new dog. But with the new year, I want you to make some new resolutions that will last beyond just this year and the next:
•I will recognize that my pet is a “forever pet.”
•I will not abandon my pet when the novelty of being a pet owner wears off.
•I will not discard my pet when house training gets tough, or when it starts chewing up my shoes.
•I will take my pet for a regular annual checkup and keep its vaccinations and licensing up to date.
•I pledge to spend time with my pet every day.
•I will teach my family to respect animals, to have compassion for them and to care for them as they would another family member.
•I will train my dog to respond to basic commands, and I will socialize it with other dogs so that it is better behaved in public or at dog parks.
These are just a few of the resolutions you should make regarding your new pet. You’ll probably come up with even more on your own. Whatever the case, appreciate that your pet is a part of the family for the rest of its life.
Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner.com. © 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.