Dear American Girl,

I really want a pet but my parents always tell me that I’m not ready. I love animals so much. How can I show them that I’m responsible?
-Animal lover

Here's your advice:

You could try helping out at an animal shelter. Your parents would see that you’re interested in animals and that you’re a responsible volunteer. They might change their minds.
-Grace, age 11, California

If you want to show your parents you’re ready for an animal, do chores every day for the whole summer. It worked for me.
-Emma, age 10, Pennsylvania

You could give a presentation to your parents. Use lists and charts to show why you’re ready for a pet. Also, speak from your heart. I hope this will show them how much a pet means to you.
-Maddy, age 11, New Jersey

If your parents don’t think you’re ready for a pet, you may have to wait. Until they decide you’re ready, do your best to be helpful. You also could talk with them and find out why they don’t think you’re ready.
-Madison, age 10, Texas

Ask if you can buy a fish with your own money. Fish are fairly cheap and easy to take care of. If your parents see that you can take care of a fish, maybe they will consider giving you more responsibility.
-Bailey, age 10, California

Maybe your parents just think it’s too much to handle. I have a pet, and caring for it is not easy.
-Sunaii, age 8, New Jersey

Try doing responsible things without your parents reminding you. Keep your room clean, make your bed, and help out around the house. Your parents might notice these things.
-Liv, age 12, Wisconsin

Maybe you can make a deal with your parents. My parents are going to let me foster a dog for one month. If I do a good job taking care of it, they will let me keep it!
-Kayla, age 11, Illinois

My advice is to take care of a stuffed pet. Pretend to feed it, play with it, and take it on pretend walks.
-Aditi, age 12, New Jersey

There are classes you can take that teach you how to take care of pets. Also, keep in mind that cats are sometimes easier to take care of than dogs.
-An American Girl fan

Show your parents you’re responsible by getting good grades in school. When your report card comes, ask for a pet.
-Amanda, age 9, Michigan

Maybe you can become a dog walker. This might show your parents that you’re ready.
-Sammi, age 12, Delaware

When I was six, I wanted a pet so badly. My brother and I decided to do something responsible every day. We cleaned our rooms, took out the trash, cleaned up our bathroom, and then cleaned the entire house. Finally our parents decided to get our dog, Buddy.
-Hannah, age 11, California

First, decide what kind of animal you want. Dogs, cats, and bunnies need to be taken care of in different ways. Find out which pet would be the best match for your family and then talk to your parents.
-Stazi, age 10, Ohio

Sit down and have a serious conversation with your parents. List the reasons why you think you are responsible enough for a pet, and listen to what they have to say.
-Priscilla, age 11, Florida

There’s a chance that you will not be able to convince them. If this happens, find other ways to spend time with animals. Ask neighbors if you can watch their pet or volunteer at an animal shelter.
-Hayley, age 9, North Carolina

HELP! from You