Family Pets (And Lack Thereof)
Let me start by sharing something both honest and somewhat controversial. I’m not an animal lover.
I never really have been. Even as a young child. I have always had some sort of mild affection/indifference to the furry community. Don’t get me wrong, I have massive amounts of both respect and empathy for all animals and I would never ever see any harm done to a living creature (I can’t even bear insects being killed), I’ve just never really cooed at a pet like I would coo at a baby. And I’ve always felt somewhat awkward around them (pets not babies).
Growing up, I had the occasional goldfish (often won in a cruel seeming plastic bag at a school fete). But with my Dad sporting the same kind of lack of enthusiasm for owning a pet that I do, my poor Mother had to wait for a long, long time before her and Dad finally agreed on getting a dog. I think the fact that two of three kids were grown and out of the house contributed to both my Mum’s increasing need and my Dad’s yielding resolve. The now much loved family pet, a Bichon Frise by the name of Roxie has well established herself into the fold and does hold a special place in my heart.
When it comes, however, to my own family unit of three… I can’t think of many things I would want less than to add a pet into the mix. Luckily for me, Gavin is of a similar mindset so we’re pretty decided. I take off my hat to those of you who run a household with multiple kids and/or pets. The devotion and thought that must require is beyond anything I think I could muster.
I think what it boils down to is that I truly believe that you should only ever own a pet if you can give it tons of love, care, time and attention. For their entire life. And I don’t feel like I could devote that much of all of the above to a pet, no matter how adorable. I struggle at times to give all that I have to a little human. So therefore, I don’t see myself as a good candidate for pet motherhood.
There is also the fact that Gavin and I like to be light on our feet and make quick changes and travel plans. All of which becomes more difficult when you can’t just strap every family member into a seat on a plane. I know of so many friends who have had to swallow the price of kennels/catteries for holidays and spend the entire last week dying to get home to their poor four legged pal.
So after harping on about why I don’t want a pet, let me tell you what does cause me a little bit of inner turmoil. I know how awesome pets are for kids. We spent a couple of months back in my Mum’s house after returning from Oz and Ethan just loved Roxie. He played with her, cuddled her and loved to feed her treats. They ran around together and were often found sitting right next to each other (if not on top of each other).
And if Ethan is set to be an only child, am I robbing him of some kind of special relationship with a furry friend?
Sometimes I feel it would be good for him to have that companionship, but if I’m really honest with myself, I’d rather have another baby than a cat or a dog (and that’s saying something)!
A couple of days ago, I also came home to an inconsolable Ethan crying “RILEY ATE HALF OF MY STICK WAAAAA!” after taking the neighbours dog for a walk. And because I love chewing on the topic of nature vs nurture, I wonder… Are we all born with an inclination to be either animal lovers (like some) or animal appreciators (like me)?
Where on the spectrum of animal loving do you and your family fall?
Did you get your family pet before or after kids?
Or are there any fellow petless-by-choice families out there?
Image by We Are // The Clarkes.