Did you know that a lone Neon Tetra is a miserable and frightened Neon Tetra? Did you know that Maltese dogs were specifically bred to an appearance and personality "designed" to elicit pampering from the Royal family and will expect to doted on? Did you know that an Egyptian Mau cat is a clown and will probably remain kitten-like in behavior? They are also naturally long and lean but not very tall. An Egyptian Mau that weighs the same as another breed his or her age, is probably overweight and unhealthy. What about Labrador Retrievers? Did you know that, as a "working" dog they need to feel useful and have a job to do or else your slippers are history? Herding dogs like Shelties and Corgis will try to "herd" their human family if they have no livestock to work with. In an effort to herd, they may nip the grandchildren's heels. Those lovable terriers, many of which are bred for small animal hunting, may not be lovable to your cat or your daughter's pet bunny. On the other hand, a properly bred, properly treated gigantic American or English Mastiff may be more protective of bunny and kitty than the rest of the family is - in addition to being devoted, protective and loving to his/her family. Did you know that it is essential that an Umbrella Cockatoo be included in family activities, such as dinner, and have a good bit of time outside of it's cage everyday for socializing with it's "flock" - which just happens to be you and your human family? An Umbrella Cockatoo that feels it is being ostracized or rejected by it's flock (your family) can have an emotional/nervous breakdown. This also often causes them to start plucking themselves bald. Although Cockatoos are more likely to be extremely affected by this, most "flock" birds also need this interaction to have quality of life. Did you know that if you get a mate bird to get around having to socialize with your bird yourself, that the birds will most likely bond with each other rather than with you and your family. Since larger birds can live in excess of 80 years, and may well outlive you, what plans have your made for your beloved parrot after you depart? What about dangers to your new pet? Did you know that overheating a Teflon skillet can kill your bird and do it rather quickly? Birds are highly susceptible to household chemical fumes.
I am hoping to get a very important point across here. If you decide to become a pet owner you first must decide on a species: Fish, Birds, Reptiles, Dogs, Cats, whatever. Once you have made a decision on a species, make the effort to investigate the innate characteristics, grooming, feeding, emotional, social and physical needs of several breeds. Consult a vet if you are not sure that you can provide what that particular breed needs to have quality of life. Animal shelters are full of animals that did not "fit" in a family - often because that family did absolutely no research on that breed before they brought it home. One would think that if someone loves animals, they would want their pet happy and healthy. They would want to provide that pet with it's "forever" home and family. Sadly, many who love animals do not even put forth the effort to learn what the breed they have decided to bring home needs to be happy.
Especially during today's information age, finding the near perfect breed for your family lifestyle, and making sure that your family is suitable to the breed for the breed to be happy, is easier than ever. Breed-specific clubs and registries offering an abundance of information on a particular breed are all over the net. Some pet food companies have breed selector tests on their websites. Species organizations such as the AKC have breed profiles and can answer questions or refer you to someone who can. Once you have narrowed down to two or three acceptable breeds, really do your homework and research each and every potential breed in depth. When you are down to one, ask a breed-specific organization to recommend a good book on the care and needs of the breed you will be bringing home.
It sounds like a lot of work and it is. It's also called being a responsible pet owner. Your new pet will reward you with an abundance of love, companionship, fun and memories for his/her life time in return for your efforts. Personally, I believe that next to love, food and water, research is the best gift you can give your new family member and they deserve no less.