Has your child been begging for a pet?
Like you, I have children who love dogs. Most of their friends have dogs or cats at home and so for years they have begged me to get a dog for the house.
Now I’m not crazy. With my schedule and the demands and responsibilities of having a family pet, I knew that having a dog was not conducive to my family’s busy lifestyle. Let’s face it, I do good just to get home and eat with my kids. To have to come home and take a dog out in the middle of day then to have him/her taken care of during our family travel (which at times could be a lot), I knew there was no way that would work for our family. But…I did want to be able to provide my children the experience of having a pet. The responsibility that goes with owning a pet is not just for the parents but is huge for the children of the family and can teach them very valuable life lessons.
So, our family started off with a fish. I figured “How much work could a fish be?” When you have a fish, you clean the tank and feed the fish, right? Wrong! Cleaning the tank obviously takes skills that I do not possess. You have to have the temperature just right when you transfer the fish so their little bodies don’t go into shock. In the first 6 months, we went through 4 fish. My babies only know about 1 and the only reason they know about the one death is because we came home to Little Nemo floating upside down in the tank. We end up having what I call the Rudy Huxtable funeral. You know, the prayer and words of comfort before the big flush sending the fish out to sea.
After the funeral, I was able to convince the kids that maybe we should not have a fish because they did not want to clean the tank and Mommy wasn’t going to do it for them.
I thought I was off the hook, until my oldest started talking about getting a rabbit. She even wrote an essay about how great pet rabbits are and how she was sure that we could handle having such a pet. She was adamant that she would be able to take care of the pet, even with our busy schedules.
When Christmas came around, a bunny made it on the Santa “short list”. After some research and thoughtful consideration, I allowed “Santa” to bring my babies a bunny for Christmas. In hindsight it probably was not the best agreement I could have made with Santa, but nevertheless, the Devine’s got an addition to the family. Candi Devine joined us on December 25, 2015.
Having a pet is a huge responsibility. We must arrange for her care as we travel and veterinarian bills for “exotic pets” (that is what they classify rabbits as) can be costly.
Having a bunny has not been as “low maintenance” as I would have thought. Our bunny is a very finicky eater. She will only eat Romaine lettuce and despises regular adult rabbit food. But she is very sweet, and the girls love her. The girls have divided the duties of caring for her and it really has taught them a lot of responsibilities.
If I had to do it over again, I may have negotiated with Santa to bring a hamster instead. But at the end of the day, I have to say having a pet has been great for the family.
I would love to hear about your experience with family pets. Share your family pet stories below.