The Family Pet: To Have or Have Not?
posted by: Amber Johnson
Growing up, we always had pets. There was Peppery the Tomcat who enjoyed knocking up the neighborhood felines and who, despite his amorous inclinations, was a fighter not a lover (I had the battle wounds to prove it). Then there was my beloved Lacey who I trained for the Bichon Frise Summer Olympics against her cousin, Missy. One day on a run, portly Lacey faked an injury.
I had no idea dogs even knew how to do that.
I loved and cared for my pets even when they did not love me back. I always assumed when I had a family of my own, pets would become a part of our life.
Except they’re not.
My 4-year-old daughter Hadley adores animals and constantly begs us for a pet. I think if we already had one when we became parents, it would be different. But my husband issued a decree we would not get one until “everyone in this house is potty trained.” At the time, there was only him, my daughter and me.
Do you think he was trying to tell me something?
I have to admit I agree with him. Life is just so busy with two young children that the thought of taking care of an animal does not appeal to me. I would love to take a dog out hiking and I would certainly appreciate the companionship. But then I remember the clean-up, training, vet bills and vacation hassles.
Sure, we could get a low-maintenance animal like a hamster or a fish. But in my opinion, the point of having a pet is to interact with them. And somehow removing them belly-up from the fish tank is not my idea of interaction. Nor is consorting with rodents.
I will likely not always feel this way. And rest assured, when everyone is potty trained my daughter will hold us to our word.
Unless I can buy some time by faking a few accidents of my own.
Do you have a pet? Is he/she a valued part of your family? What memories to you have of your animals as a child?