My kids have hit a dreaded milestone – the milestone of pet realization. I say “dreaded” for multiple reasons …
1) Personally, I am not a pet person
2) When a family gets a pet, it almost always becomes the mom’s responsibility, see #1
3) Pets cost money and take time and attention, both of which I have to strategically budget as is.
Their aunt has a hedgehog and they see friends who have all sorts of pets, mostly dogs and cats. Thus, it has planted in their little hearts the desire for their own animal. But, at 3 and 5 years old, I know they don’t fully grasp what pet ownership will be like. And so, I’m pushing off their pet dreams for as long as I can.
I haven’t completely said no to a pet, but I also haven’t said yes either. In the meantime we’re having conversations about what things would be like with a pet in our family. We’re checking out books from the library about responsible pet ownership, talking through our animal options, and soon, we’re going to pet sit to see how much they really like the specific details of being a pet “mom” or “dad.”
For us, I know a dog will be way over our heads. So before the question of “Can we get a puppy?” even comes up I’m steering them towards lower maintenance animals. I’d embrace the idea of a cat, but I’m allergic. The more I look into things, the more I’m drawn to these 5 potentials …
- Rabbit — With a bunny we could build an outdoor hutch and consider joining 4-H. They’d get the soft factor thanks to that cozy fur, but wouldn’t be making a commitment to daily walks.
- Guinea Pig — I had a guinea pig when I was young so of all the rodent family animals, this is the one I’m most drawn too. They’re more sturdy than a hamster and they don’t have a rat-type tail. Plus, they make the cutest squeaking sound!
- Gecko — My son is all about little reptiles and a gecko might just be a good fit for us. Not too big, not too small, and not too exotic. I do need to research the heat situation though … not sure if I’m up to monitoring habitat temperature.
- Walking Sticks — Stay with me here, these things are cool and super easy to care for. Then again, being that they are a mere insect, my kids might lose interest and then I’d become the proud mother of a walking stick family. Hmmm…
- Fish — Sweet and simple. Fish are fun to watch and could help my kids ease into the responsibility of pet ownership since feeding is easy and cleaning isn’t daily.
Whatever you do, don’t add turtle to your list. I recently learned that they can live up to 50 years and that is a commitment none of us are ready for!
What was your first pet? What animals are you considering for your kid’s first experience as pet parents?