“The purpose of a relationship is not to have another who might complete you, but to have another with whom you might share your completeness.” – Neale Donald Walsch
My partner and I have been together for four months, and we have always been supportive of each other, especially on our growth. Not just personal development, but we always strive to grow our relationship and our bond with each other. We have many good conversations surrounding topics like finance, politics, photography, social media, entrepreneurship, and travel destinations. Some of these topics can be intrusive for others, but we have established a rule to be transparent with each other. I am fortunate to have a very understanding partner, and he is an amazing supporter as well as a mentor. Outside of our personal projects, we share a vlog channel together, and that is something that is special to us. This is the healthiest relationship I’ve been in, and we have reached milestones that I wasn’t able to reach in my previous relationships. So when we decided to have more “special” bonding activities, we thought “why don’t we try owning a pet together.”
Owning a pet requires patient and effort and as a couple, it is greatly beneficial for both of us to tend to something together. We are both committed to each other and our relationship, so have pets is our first step to learning to work together. Maybe down the road, when we have our own family, we would already know how each other work and how can best support one another.
In my lifetime, I’ve owned several pets such as fish, hamsters, and dogs. I have some experience in taking care of pets, and for the most part, I know what to expect in the long term. My partner has never had a pet, not even a fish (aside for a Science experiment in class), so everything was new to him. I will give him credits for always diving head in with anything he does because he would spend hours researching the pet, housing, food, health, behavior, etc. He would educate himself about our pets, and make up for the lack of experience with knowledge. I think he’s a better pet owner than me at times, and we had a few incidents along the way as we brought home our pets. So continue reading for our pet adventures.
Meet Our Pets
Betta Fish – Felix
We took baby steps with our pet journey, so we started out with a beta fish. I had a betta fish in high school, and he lived for about three years. We decided on betta because it was low maintenance, and because of the aqua scaping opportunities that come with it. Betta fish are a beginner-friendly pet, they come in different varieties and colors, much more fun to pick out compared to goldfish.
In preparation for bringing home our fish, we prepared a fishbowl that we got from Walmart, it was a starter kit bowl with everything we needed. So the next we went to PetSmart to pick out a fish, and we found Felix. Andy decided to pick the smallest but best-looking fish because it appeared to be a younger fish. I’ve never seen handle anything with such care when we brought Felix home, it was his very first pet.
My boyfriend loves to do build small landscaping, so aside from taking care of our fish, he finds joy in doing aquascape for the fish tank. He watched endless Youtube videos for inspirations, and I really enjoyed seeing him being so passionate about taking care of Felix. The process of building an aquascape is time-consuming and requires creativity. As someone who prefers things to be simple, I was amazed at how these tanks turned out, and Felix also enjoys his home.
Winter White Dwarf Hamster – Hamtoro
We have a love for cute animals, and so when we were on the topic of getting another pet, we were debating between a hamster and a dog. Actually, he was more against us getting a dog since the beginning, but I still kept it as one of the options. Andy wasn’t quite sure if he wanted a hamster either until one of his coworkers suggested that he can build multiple cages and playgrounds for them. He was sold! Once again he dived into Youtube videos on how to care for hamsters and cage setups.
After going back and forth on the type of hamsters we should get, we decided on a dwarf hamster because they are super energetic and easy to care for since they are smaller. We saw Hamtoro and Andy fell in love at first glance :D, so it had to be her. The name Hamtoro is a mix between hamster and Totoro, one of our favorite Studio Ghibli characters.
She is a very smart girl and she’s very curious about her surroundings. Easy to handle and fun to play with as long as we don’t disturb her from her beauty sleep. Andy created two playgrounds for her, and she was able to climb out of both.
For the most part, we had some minor disagreements on how we wanted to house our pets. I have a little experience in having pets, I’m more laidback on setting up their living area. When I had a betta fish, it was a simple tank and a few pebbles for easy cleaning and transportation. For my previous hamsters, I also had a smaller cage for them in order to make cleaning easier. Thinking back on it, I was quite young, so the resources that were available to me were limited compared to what I have now. I
I think I was more concerned with the convenience of having a pet that I didn’t take into consideration of properly caring for a pet. I thought as long as we provide them with everything they need, then it is good enough. So when Andy wanted to do aquascaping for Felix and hamsterscaping for Hamtoro, I was frustrated because I’ve never been exposed to that kind of activity when it comes to taking care of beginner’s pets.
Since I was more hands-off with Felix’s tank, I wasn’t familiar with how to care for the tank. I know how to care for a fish, but with such a complex tank, I was at a loss. Andy went on a three weeks vacation, and I was home taking care of Felix, and no jokes, within the first 48 hours, the LED lights were dead. I didn’t know what happened, so I had to take it apart and replace them. Then, the water filter was not operating correctly, but I didn’t know how it was supposed to operate. I know I’m not an irresponsible pet owner, so it was extremely frustrating when things are not working and I didn’t know what to do. I was upset with myself for not being able to take care of Felix, but it wasn’t Felix, it was the tank.
So now that we have Hamtoro, I decided that I want to keep her at my place and Andy can look after Felix. I know how to look after her and care for her. Her living environment is the same as I had when I was younger, so I don’t feel intimidated when I have to care for her. I’ve had pets before, so caring for them comes easy to me compared to Andy as a first-time owner. If you have kids or dogs, then I think you can relate to this. With the first one, you are always extra careful with them, making sure that everything is properly laid out and you learn as you go. But the time you have a second kid or dog, then you’re more comfortable because you know what to expect.
Finding Our Middle Ground and How it Helped Our Relationship
From my personal perspective, I decided to stop being frustrated with Andy when he wants to add more to the hamster cage and the fish tank. I had to remember that it is his first time being a pet owner, so the things he is doing for our pets are things that he enjoys. I was more concerned with not being able to help him with cleaning the tank that opposed to what he wanted. You know sometimes when you get to a point where our partner wants to move forward with a project or a new hobby that they like, but because we don’t know how to do those things, so we would try to talk them out of it or discourage them.
The best thing to do in that situation is to be open to learning and keep an open mind. I think it all boils down to having respect for our partners and their preferences. We should show interest and ask questions on their project, and do our own research to see how we can better understand their interest. Being able to become pet owners with my significant other has helped us to recognize unhealthy traits and how to deal with them. We grew closer and we are able to share so many wonderful memories together.