Pet Promise

Dear Liz – My kids have really been bugging me to get a puppy for Christmas but how do I know they’re ready for this kind of responsibility?


Concerned in Coventry

Dear Concerned –

Some friends of ours had the same concerns a few years back.  Their kids were younger and they were concerned that the kids would not be responsible enough for taking care of a pup, so they came up with a great plan.

Have the kids take care of a stuffed dog / cat for the next month.  Have them “feed” it, “walk” it, etc.  Take a dark towel and put it in the yard every day and make one of their jobs to “pick up” after the dog.  If that towel stays in the same spot, you know they’re not doing it.  Or, if it’s a kitten you’re thinking about, put pieces of paper (label them “poop”) in a box (simulating a litter box).

Do as much “pretending” as you feel is necessary to assure you that they’re ready for a new pet.  Having a pet is a huge responsibility, so in addition to the month-long project, try having them sign a “contract”.

This is a contract that everyone has to sign and it’s binding!!  It’s called a Pet Promise and it can be found on (or just click on it below)

It’s a way that you and the kids can see the realities of owning a new pet, and it’s a way to make sure that pet is taken care of!

So if they DO pass the test and they’ve agreed to abide by the rules of the contract, I think you can be assured they’re ready for a new pet!  Good luck!


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