I have a confession: I’m not a pet person. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love animals. But, I didn’t grow up with pets and the responsibility of having my own now — while living in an apartment and traveling frequently — just doesn’t fit into my lifestyle.

In this issue, we’re talking all about pets — the cost, finding the right one for your family, allergies and more. But if you’re not a pet person either, I think there are still ways to incorporate a love for animals into your life.

Even though I’ve never had a pet, I’ve still been able to spend lots of time around animals. One of my favorite vacation memories as a kid was spending several days in New Hampshire at a working farm that was also a family resort. We got to enjoy home cooked meals in the dining hall and woke up to the sound of roosters crowing.

Each morning, we had the chance to go to the chicken coop with baskets we had decorated on our first day and fill them with freshly-laid eggs, which we could then bring to the kitchen and have made for breakfast. We milked goats and cows on other days and brought lettuce and other snacks to feed the rabbits and goats.

Alexis Crowe, Editor

A couple years later, we had a trip planned to visit a family camp in Wisconsin. I got to go on my first horseback trail ride during that weekend getaway and later returned to the same camp as a counselor during college and continued to ride that same trail with my campers.

In college, my friends and I enjoyed visiting the local animal shelter. We weren’t allowed to have pets in the dorms, but at the shelter we could take a study break and get some puppy time to de-stress during finals week.

I’ve also visited zoos countless times, explored a dairy farm with my grandparents and each day at work I get to see several dogs in our pet-friendly office.

How does your family make animals a part of their lives? Whether you volunteer at an animal shelter, take grandma’s dog for walks with her, frequent the Little Rock Zoo or have a pet of your own, there’s no wrong way to do it.

We’re not all pet people and that’s 100 percent alright. But for all of you who are, I hope this issue is loaded with helpful information, especially if you’re new to pet ownership or just beginning to consider it for yourself.

Enjoy the time you have with your furry, scaly and feathered friends!

The PET Issue

Picking A Pet for Your Family

Preparing Your Pocketbook for Pet Ownership

Dr. Tamara Perry Dials in on Animal Allergies 101

Parent-Ish: How Pet Adoption Teaches Love & Rescue