On choosing a family pet

The topic of pets is a popular one around here lately. Perhaps because Jason has been saying he wants a dog for the last two years or so and has transferred his own dream to his sons. I mean, we’re not really in a position to get an animal of any kind, much less the kind of dog that would satisfy his (‘their’) yearning. What with living in rented accommodation and moving a lot and having small children that are quite needy and helpless in many respects.

But with our oldest wanting a baby sister named Maggie and being denied that wish on both accounts, I felt compelled to offer him a small carrot. We could get a (girl) dog (in the future) and name her Maggie. So the pet discussion has morphed into ‘when we get a dog…in a few years.’

But Mr. G announced the other day that he wanted a kitty instead. ‘I thought you wanted a dog,’ I reminded him. ‘Oh, I was just kidding’ he replied. ‘We can just get a kitty.’ Ah, a five year old who ‘kids’. And this after I swore up and down that I would never in my life get a cat again once we’d said goodbye to our long-suffering Pukeli. A nickname (bestowed on her by our oldest) that I just realized was quite appropriate since she spent a lot of time puking.

And last night he expanded the pet conversation even more. ‘Why don’t we look at this pet book and see what kind of pet we might want to get,’ he suggested. [By pet book he meant a vintage picture book that features about 6 different kinds of pets.]

‘Maybe we can get a hamster,’ he began. And all I wanted to say was ‘ew, disgusting, I don’t want a hamster.’ But I’m trying to mold a mind, not (mostly) trying to superimpose my opinions and preferences upon another. [I do make an exception where my husband is concerned. My opinions and preferences should be his as well.]

‘Well, are you going to clean out the cage?’ I inquired. He agreed. ‘Hamsters poop in their cages,’ I enlightened him, ‘are you going to clean out the poop?’

Just like that, the hamster lost his allure and we moved on.

‘Maybe we can get a lizard…do they poop or pee?’ he asked hesitantly. Since I certainly don’t have an exhaustive knowledge of the animal kingdom, I gave him a common-sense answer. ‘All animals poop and pee.’ They do, don’t they?

Plus I really don’t want a lizard. One of the women in my local book club owns a dragony/lizard type creature and I was the only member in the group who refused to touch it when she brought it out for ‘show and tell’ one night.

‘Well, we don’t need to get a bunny,’ he decided ‘because bunnies live outside.’ Yes, they do – like squirrels. They’re nature’s pets.

I left the room for a minute only to be summoned back by an excited: ‘I’ve found the pet we should get!’

Curious, I retraced my steps so I could take another look at the pet book. He pointed to an illustration of a web containing a small black spider.

7 thoughts on “On choosing a family pet

  1. My friend Lesley owns a rabbit named Penguini. She’d even take it to the beach with her when she lived in LA. It *is* very cute, but definitely poops and pees.

  2. A rabbit at the beach? I have not heard of that before!! I had a rabbit when I was little…I think we had it for a week or so and then it was ‘donated’ to the preschool. I like touching them at 4-H shows..but that’s about it.

  3. all animals poo and pee…and if that little fact of looming potential responsibility keeps your kids from hounding (pun intended) you about getting a pet, you’re pretty lucky!
    on a related note, i had two big spiders as “pets” when i first moved out of my parents house…well, technically they were tarantulas, but tomato, tomAHHto :). although they were easy to care for (feed once a week, fresh water when needed), the thought of them escaping and crawling free around my tiny apartment was more than josh could handle….but i’m sure you guys will have fun looking at pictures!!

  4. Yes, Mr. G wants to effectively keep his mother and his aunt away from the house by suggesting such alternative pets. Brandi, I think we will just look at the Discovery Channel each day. That seemed to do the trick this morning. I looked elsewhere during the bat footage. Animal, not baseball.

  5. Ella has a book of animals and always shows me the page with the spiders and says, “You don’t like these” as she shoves it in my face. There’s something about kids knowing what you don’t like and wanting it-how do they do that?!


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