Managing multiple pets in a home with harmony is indeed a challenging task. Whether you are a pet parent of two or have a full-fledged farm, living with multiple pets requires some strategic direction. When you get guidance from real-life experience from a multiple pet owner who also is a pet expert, it is a cherry on the cake. Isn’t it?
We have arranged an interview with pet expert Rehana, a parent of five adorable furry friends, two dogs, and three bunnies. Rehana has shared her day-to-day life with her pets, her pet care philosophy, her favorite things about her pets, how to make your four-legged friends get along, and many more. Adhering to a philosophy where she believes that adopting a pet is like planning a baby, Rehana has shared her expert advice on adopting pets from shelters and the essential factors to look at while choosing a vet through the narratives of her real-life experience.
According to Rehana, multiple pet ownership denotes added responsibilities, but the joyful rewards multiply daily, with endless dividends of unconditional love. The entire interview is a well-knitted memoir of a multiple-pet parent and a pet expert busting the myths hovering around adopting multiple pets.
Q: How did your pet(s) become part of your family?
A: We adopted the puppies, Bruno and Jimmy. I’m fond of dogs and looking for a companion. I was eager to bring a new family member to home; the idea behind the adoption is to give a home to a needy one as well.
I believe in the philosophy that when you adopt a dog from a shelter, you’re saving a life and giving that dog a second chance. However, with so many shelters out there full of pups who need love, it was difficult for me to choose the pet that fits my lifestyle and family. I prepared a list in advance about why I wanted to adopt a pup and began to scroll through the sites of local animal shelters. And after narrowing down all the shelter homes of my choice, I personally visited the shelters and considered all the options.
Pets are family, aren’t they? So the entire process for me was almost like planning a baby. Bruno was the one whom I initially adopted. Before bringing him home from the nearby animal shelter, I was constantly educating myself and researching pets’ requirements for a healthy & comfortable life. Bruno had behavioral issues originally, but he is now my most obedient child after the counseling!
Two years after adopting Bruno, I adopted Jimmy from the same shelter. Bruno and Jimmy both have their quirks and idiosyncrasies. Jimmy had separation anxiety, and he was a bit temperamental. But I, along with my family, devoted immense patience, time, and love to him. He is now quite playful and one of the most loved members of the family. Jimmy and Bruno get along with my Rayan so well.
We also have two bunnies, Daisy, Hopper, and Snowball, whom we have bought from a nearby animal rescue center. The rescue group was looking for pet parents, and I learned about this from my neighbor. Initially, I was not so particular about buying them, but bunnies are the cutest and it makes them irresistible as pets. Their floppy ears, twitching noses, and cute faces were enough to change my decision, and I bought them home. However, I went through a thorough discussion with the rescue team before bringing them home. Daisy, Hopper and Snowball are now inseparable parts of the family. All of them are very social and playful.
Q: How many pets do you have, and what are their names?
A: We have two puppies, namely Bruno and Jimmy. Also, we have three bunnies, Daisy, Hopper, and Snowball.
Q: If you have multiple pets, do they get along with each other?
A: Yes. We have multiple pets, and I believe that more pets mean you have more companions. Bruno and Jimmy genuinely enjoy playing with each other. They do the ‘play bow’ and legs up in the air like, ‘Hey, let’s do this.’
Daisy, Hopper, and Snowball like to snuggle up close to one another and fall asleep. The way they snuggle together is an obvious sign they genuinely get along & there’s genuine affection between them. It is also a sign that they trust each other as pets usually don’t fall asleep if they don’t really get along and have that established bond.
Furthermore, whenever the rest of my family and I leave the house, Jimmy and Bruno get excited and check-in their way if both of them can make the trek. And if one is not going, they look at me, ‘What’s going on? Their desire to venture out together is just another sign of their bond and affection for one another.
Daisy, Hopper, and Snowball try to calm each other down when visiting a pet clinic, I mean, they have a bond, and they know how to do it. Usually, vets can be a scary place that causes pet anxiety. I bring all three together even though only one has an appointment, as the other two help provide moral support. They rely on each other and comfort in times of anxiety & it’s adorable to observe an intense bond between pets.
And I think having multiple pets is a good thing as you can’t always be around to entertain your pets. Having two or more pets can provide additional companionship for each other. My pets usually play together, which helps relieve under-stimulation and boredom that can lead to behavioral problems.
The enriching relationship between them also reduces separation anxiety and eases your conscience when you have to go out. However, I look closely at them as sometimes bunnies and the dogs don’t get along. It is an infrequent occasion, though.
Q: What does a typical day with your pets look like?
A: Usually, all three bunnies and Jimmy & Bruno enjoy it with my 3.5 years old son Rayan. Jimmy and Bruno spend around 60% of their time, i.e., twelve to fourteen hours of their day sleeping. They spend another 40% of the day, around five hours of the day lounging around.
In the case of Jimmy, when he doesn’t get the downtime he needs, he sometimes becomes cranky. Hence, we have ensured to maintain a daily schedule that includes breaks throughout the day and the downtime; I have confirmed that Jimmy and Bruno get sufficient activity. We ensure that both of them do at least 1-hour of high-intensity activity, like jogging, playing fetch, or hiking on weekends. We consulted a vet nearby who helped us schedule their activity, assessing their sleep and life cycle. The vet has ensured that they both have enough activities to keep them healthy and happy!!
Daisy, Hopper, and Snowball are crepuscular. All three are most active at dawn and dusk. And they are great house pets as you know they sleep most of the time when you are at work and are ready to socialize when you are around. Daisy, Hopper, and Snowball usually wake up at dawn and stay active until about mid-morning.
This time is their eating, grooming, digging, foraging, and playing time. They sometimes play with their toys or explore boxes, simply follow me around to see what I’m doing or race around burning off energy.
Around mid-morning, they go to their sleeping area and settle down. Sometimes, they’ll wake up and eat some hay between their sleep time but most often they just sleep for hours.
In the early evening, they wake up and groom themselves thoroughly and start foraging for food. Evenings are the most friendly, relaxed time for Hopper, Daisy, and Snowball. At this time, they’ll play with my three years old son. They are most receptive to strokes and cuddles, and often they settle down with us to watch TV. One thing which is particular about the bunnies is that they are strict about their mealtime. Hence we have made freely available hay. Also, we are developing a habit of feeding them once in the morning and the evening when they are most active. It was a choice initially, but gradually, all three became attuned with their feeding time. If sometimes we are late or behind schedule, they try to remind us by circling our feet or standing up on their back legs and begging or nipping our feet gently. We strictly adhere to their natural routine and avoid disturbing them during their sleeping times.
Initially, Rayan tried to cuddle them in their den or get them out for a play, but it made them grumpy, less willing to socialize. We have consulted with a nearby pet care clinic and their guidelines helped us immensely to make the bunnies comfortable at home.
Q: What do you feed your pets?
A: Bruno and Jimmy are fond of rice, meat, and fish. We also feed him Pedigree. We feed them cooked, plain white rice at lunch or whenever they have an upset stomach. Besides, both the puppies are fond of Salmon, shrimp, and tuna.
Daisy, Hopper and Snowball like to eat carrots and grass. Besides, fresh, clean drinking water and good quality hay are included in the majority of their diet. Their diet also includes various root vegetables, leafy vegetables, or fruit only in small amounts as treats. We have consulted a vet nutritionist to prepare the diet plan for both the puppies and the bunnies.
Q: What are your pet’s favorite treats?
A: Chicken is the favorite treat for Burno and Jimmy. Both the puppies also like to eat boiled eggs, raw turkey neck, liver, and raw bones.
In the case of bunnies, cauliflower leaves are their favorite food. Apart from that, Daisy, Hopper, and Snowball also like to eat Bell Peppers, Basil, Cilantro, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Lettuces, Radish, and Zucchini. They are also fond of spinach, but we offer them spinach only two times a week.
Q: What is your one favorite thing about your pet?
A: The one favorite thing about my pets is that they keep my baby engaged, and thus I can concentrate on my work. They really get along well with Ryan.
Besides, they were a great companion during this lockdown. Daisy, Hopper, and Snowball have a closer bond with Rayan and me. They recognize me & Rayan by voice and sight and will even come on command. And during the lockdown, they just followed me from room to room and jumped up on laps when called, which makes them more affectionate!!
And regarding Bruno and Jiminy, the best thing is they are incredibly loyal. Besides, their positive and obedient attitude is infectious. And whenever I’m home, they are so happy. During the lockdown, they were my great company!! Who can be sad with a waggy-tailed friend around. Right?
Q: If your pet gets hurt, what do you do? Do you contact your vet immediately or first try to address the injury yourself?
A: When the pet gets hurt, I address it myself first. I closely monitor the injury and assess the condition. Though I initially address myself, I later take them to the nearby vet in the locality to ensure there’s no other complications or any other significant injury.
Q: Do you have a dedicated vet? If so, why did you choose this particular one?
A: No, I don’t have a dedicated vet. But I have researched the vet’s in my area to get the list with me to reach out in case of a medical emergency. I particularly check for the convenience of access and the facilities available in a pet care clinic before making an appointment. Online discovery platforms are doing wonders for me in this case, as I can monitor the review and the specialilities, operational hours and accordingly can narrow down the list. Also, in some cases, I have visited vets upon referral from my colleagues and peer groups.
Q: Does your primary veterinarian cater to all your specific needs and medical specialties?
A: Yes, till that, the primary veterinarian caters to all the special needs. I usually pre-search for the pet care clinic and narrow down the searches. The process is helping me to get a clinic that offers the services that I’m looking for my pet. Bella is my primary veterinarian, but I also have a couple of other vets whom I refer to wherever any medical emergency or pet issues arise.
Q: Do you have a ‘backup vet’ in case your primary one is not available?
A: Yes. We do have a ‘backup’ vet. It’s Zack. His clinic is also near my residence. I got to know about Zack’s clinic via an online search platform and communicated with him. It was when I was looking for a vet’s suggestion for my bunnies’ diet plan.
Q: Do you have a regularly scheduled check-up/care routine? Or do you schedule appointments on an ‘as-needed basis?
A: I schedule appointments via call and fix as required. However, even though there is no specific routine to visit the vet clinics, I ensure to closely monitor my pet’s health. And whenever I monitor any discrepancy or any issue, I immediately call the vet from the list I have. Most of the time, I reach out to Bella and Zack. But there are two or three vets in the area whom I communicated with in the past regarding Daisy’s health issues.
Q: Have you ever needed emergency services for your pet?
A: To date, no. I’ve not needed any emergency services for my part. But I have a list of emergency pet care hospitals handy so that I can reach out to them if any emergency or any unforeseen situation arises in the future. I believe it is a wise step for the pet owner to prepare for an emergency pet care clinic list! It is life-saving for the pet at the time of any critical emergency medical condition.
Q: How do you schedule your appointments? Phone call, online, other?
A: I schedule my appointments via Phone Call. I think it is convenient, and you can have a clear-cut conversation regarding the vet clinic offering, specialties, and pet care philosophy. Besides, based on their customer care quality, you can decide where you should go with that vet or not.
Q: If you could improve something about scheduling appointments with your vet, what would it be?
A: If I could improve something about scheduling appointments with my vet, I would like to request a demo during the call. After all, pets are your family members; when you have a visual demo of the clinic, you are satisfied that your best friend is at the right hand. I mean credibility of the vets clinic is increased when you go through an audio-visual medium.
Q: Can you share a story of how your veterinarian went above and beyond to care for you and your pet(s)?
A: No-till date, there’s no such story. But yet Bella and Zeck really get along with my pets well. They understand all my puppies and bunnies, and Bruno, Jimmy, Daisy, Hopper, and Snowball really feel comfortable around them.
Q: Can you share a story of how your veterinarian came up short in caring for you and your pets?
A: I don’t exactly have a narrative or a story, but yes, I’ve visited the professionals who care about pets’ comfort. They also are willing to impart knowledge about pt care with me. Both Bella and Zeck give me all the time to assess the issues and the root cause of the pet’s health issues. They are better at explaining things and are better at time management. And the most crucial part is that they listen to me. Even though they are more trained and knowledgeable about pet health than me, they believe that I know more about my pet better than anyone. I really like the pet care philosophy they adhere to.