There’s a dog park on the West Side Highway that I will sometimes stop by when I’m riding downtown. I’ll get off my bike, linger around the fence, and watch the dogs fall over each other and play. I recognize I may look silly, but who can resist watching a Dachshund playing with a terrier three times his size?
Albeit this fascination with watching dogs play, I wouldn’t exactly consider myself a dog person. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs. I love them enough to ignore the weird glances I get from people on the other side of the fence at the dog park.
This thing is, I just don’t have time to properly care for a dog. I work late and I don’t live close to my office. I also like the occasional unplanned happy hour and preplanned yoga class. I know that if I got a dog, I would love him/her so much I’d move the mountains in my schedule to make sure they came first.
And I’m just not there yet.
Maybe I’m too selfish, or maybe it’s exactly the opposite because I know I’d want to be the best dog mom in the world. Alas, having a pet and companion is clinically shown to make people happier and relieve stress. So, fear not, if you’re like me, I’ve put together a list of furry and scaly friends you can introduce into your life.
A cat. This is my pet of choice. Oliver, my cat, is the chilliest feline around. He is frequently found hanging out on the windowsill and isn’t mad at me if I get home late from work. Cats are super easy to take care of and (hopefully) excellent cuddle partners. The stigma behind cat owners is over-hyped, so don’t let this deter you.
A chinchilla. My roommate had one of these when I was living in Brooklyn. It was a fascinating creature and the funniest shape. They’re also super easy to take care of as well as a fun fact to bring up about yourself in conversation.
A bearded dragon. Speaking of a fun fact, imagine this on your Bumble profile. Chances are, someone would be immediately intrigued by your choice of pet and it’d spark an immediate rapport. This ticks the unique pet box and low maintenance box.
A fish. If you’re really looking to keep things simple, get yourself a fish. Feel free to name it “Nemo” or go with someone wild like “Sylvester” – just don’t forget to feed it.
A rock. Even more simple, and people are really selling them.
A hamster. A smaller version of a chinchilla but equally as cute. The most time-consuming thing with these guys is cleaning their cages. Otherwise, enjoy watching them speedily chomp on some pellets.
A bird. I’ll never be the same after seeing ‘Polly’ in elementary school. Birds are a great winged companion and dog alternative. Hint, my bird-owning friend recommends cockatoos specifically.
A boyfriend. Relax, I’m just kidding.
A remote pet. If you have a warm heart but no room for a pet in your life or apartment, think about remotely adopting one. Have you ever seen a llama smile? Or how a penguin waddles? They deserve some love too.
And if all the above still doesn’t speak to you, think about donating to animal shelters to help these sweet animals looking for their forever home. Dog person or not, there are options for animal lovers everywhere to give back.
Sonya Matejko is a writer and yoga teacher living in New York City. She’s on a mission to help people express and empower themselves mentally, physically, and spiritually. By embracing vulnerability, Sonya hopes to move people toward their highest potential. Her writing has been featured on [...]