It is a well respected belief that money cannot buy happiness. I completely disagree with this. At home I have a large money tin which in which I place all my coins, and have been doing so for a year. When that tin is full, I am going to take the money out and buy a puppy. I adamantly believe that this will be the happiest day of my life so far. However, one must remember that you will be living with this animal for over 10 years; therefore this is a big decision that must be thought about considerably. So, what is the right pet for you? Here are some basic guidelines to get you started on your way to finding that perfect companion. Dogs: If you want unconditional love and loyalty, then a dog is for you. A dog can be your best friend, will make you laugh, smile, and you will find yourself telling anyone who will listen about its hilarious exploits and adventures. However a dog can be high maintenance. They need room, lots of attention, exercise and most importantly, love. They can also get bored, lonely and depressed, so if you are leaving them alone for the day, give them a big bone, or a toy to keep them occupied. Here are some ideas to make sure you choose the perfect friend. Be sensible. If you have a backyard that barely has room to swing a bat in, don’t buy a Great Dane or Doberman. You must respect you pet! Make sure you check out all your local shelters and animal rescue homes. Also check out your local greyhound racing track. There are thousands of retired greyhounds out there that need homes. If you adopt a dog and have other pets and/or children make sure the dog will get along with them before you bring them home. Also, make sure there is someone who can look after your dog when you are away. They will become lonely and depressed without human companionship. Cats: I haven’t had as much experience with cats, but what I have learned is that cats demand respect. Give them that and they will love you, don’t give them it and they will look at you as if you are the scum of the earth. Some stray and abandoned cats may have been mistreated and are therefore distrusting of humans. If you rescue a stray, it will take patience and lots of love to get it to respond to you. You may get a few scratches along the way, but remember that this cat may have gone through a horrible time before you met it. Cats are perfect for those who want a friendly, responsive pet that is not as high maintenance as a dog. If you are away, they most likely will not need anyone to stay with them, but someone to simply check on them and feed them each day. Other: When looking at other pets, remember to research them carefully. Some pets, such as cockatoos and hermit crabs can actually outlive their owners! Do you really want to be putting your pet in your will? Rabbits are a popular pet, and can soften the most hardest of hearts. They are entertaining, cute and fluffy with twitching noses and soft ears. They often seem like something straight out of Disney. However, they are not very bright, and take some handling to become used to your touch. If you want a more responsive animal, maybe do not opt for a rabbit. Rats and mice are apparently wonderful pets, especially rats. However, they are not good at living alone, so you often have to buy them in pairs. Just make sure you take all precautions so you don’t end up with hundreds of little baby rats! Birds are lovely, soothing and entertaining. Unfortunately a lot of people treat them as decorations rather than pets. Make sure they have a chance to stretch their wings each day, and have a mansion of a cage. Fish can be great pets for first timers. Just make sure you actually want one, and are not just buying it on a whim. Snakes and reptiles sometimes need licenses to own. Make sure you research this well. Snakes and lizards are great, low maintenance pets. However you may find it hard to get a pet sitter for them! If you are lucky enough to have found your new little friend, you now need to name him/her! You might have a name in your head already, one might pop into you head a soon as you lay eyes on your new pet, or you may be completely stumped! Here are some guidelines for names to get you started. The five most popular cat names in the UK are: 1. Tigger 2. Sooty 3. Felix 4.Lucky 5. Smokey The five most popular dog names: 1. Max 2. Ben 3. Buster 4. Tyson 5.Lady Think about your choice logically. You might love the name ‘Lulu TrixieBelle Mcfluffykins’, but do you really want to be shouting that out across the park? The best names for dogs are short names, easy to call out and don’t sound ridiculous, but this doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. Do not give your pet a ‘joke name’, how rude! Make sure you do name your pet, even if it’s just a little goldfish as this will strengthen the friendship between you and your critter. Most importantly, remember to love your pet, it will be the most rewarding thing you do!