Our Great Family Pet Debate

in life •  3 months ago

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My kids want a pet

Like most children my kids would love a pet. Unlike most children they probably won’t get one....if my husband has anything to do with it! He hates the idea of animals living in the house and thinks the house will end up smelling and the kids will end up losing interest and neglecting the pet. To be fair both those scenarios are pretty realistic. I on the other hand want my kids to have the experience of owning and caring for a pet. I think it stems from my own childhood.

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My Pet Budgies

As a kid I wanted a pet so badly that I made up elaborate tales at school about having loads of fluffy white pet rabbits that ran around the garden. I wouldn’t say I was a compulsive liar, I just had an overactive imagination! Maybe it was just wishful thinking. Eventually my parents did get us pets in the form of two budgerigars from a man my Dad knew at work who had an aviary. My sister and I were around 9 and 6 years old at the time and were super excited about them at first. We named the green one Pip and the blue one Biffo. Pip belonged to my sister and Biffo was mine. Bizarrely we were both scared stiff of birds, so cleaning the cage was a nightmare and it was always left to me because I was the eldest. We were too afraid to let the budgies out to fly around the house and get a bit of exercise. So the poor things just sat sadly in the cage and ate and pooed. Then one day, not very long after we had gotten them, Pip died. My Dad broke the news to my sister very gently. Her response was “oh right” and then she skipped off to play with her toys. After that we all though Biffo looked a bit lonely (and my parents probably wanted to avert another untimely death) so we gave him back to my Dad’s friend the birdman. I’m sure he was happier flying around in the aviary with his homies.

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My youngest sister the animal lover

After the budgie episode our only experience of having a pet was when we went to stay with my Grandma in India who had a adorable little black poodle. But whenever my sister and I asked for another pet my Dad reminded us how we had “killed Pip” and couldn’t be trusted to look after animals properly. I don’t think that was entirely true, maybe it was just Pip’s time? But I couldn’t blame my parents for not wanting to deal with the hassle of another pet....apart from fish which have always been my dad’s pets rather than ours. But then my youngest sister came along. She’s always been an animal lover. I remember her bringing home the school guinea pig one weekend and letting it run around the living room and happily running after it picking up its poo. As she became an adult she’s had a range of pets ranging from cats to rats.

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A pet puppy?

Now my kids ask for a pet dog every other day. Even I would love a pet dog. I was in a pet shop the other day and saw the cutest cavapoo puppies and very nearly bought one on the spot. I think a small dog would be a lovely addition to the family. I’ve been doing my research and getting advice from friends and family members who own dogs and I think we could manage it. BUT I know it’s a big commitment, especially for a household that have never owned a pet before.....and a household whose husband/daddy is strongly opposed to the idea!

A starter pet

So I’ve come up with the idea of a starter pet. Something small and fairly easy to look after which is more interesting than fish. These are the ideas I’ve had so far:

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Turtles

I saw the cutest little turtles in a pet shop and the kids and I thought they would make cool pets. They seem easy enough to look after. It’s just the cleaning of the vivarium that would take a lot of time. However, the do grow quite big and I’m not comfortable keeping large turtles in an enclosure which is too small for them...because let’s face it we live in an apartment not a reptile centre! Apparently the River Thames is full of turtles because people kept buying them at the height of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mania and didn’t realise how big they would get! Also I read somewhere they carry salmonella which isn’t great when you’ve got young kids who put their hands in their mouths all the time.

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Tortoises

I’ve always loved the idea of keeping pet tortoises, I find them quite interesting and was under the impression they don’t need much looking after. Apparently they do! Ideally they also need some space in the garden (which we don’t have) to walk around in the sun. Some varieties hibernate and you have to get the conditions right otherwise they can die. They are a huge commitment too because, if properly cared for, they can outlive their owners! Also I read they carry salmonella too!

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Snakes

I think snakes are fascinating. But it’s what you have to feed them that puts me off. None of us are keen on keeping dead mice in our freezer!

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Hamsters

A few of my Mum friends say that hamsters make the perfect pets for kids because they are cute and furry, don’t take up much space and don’t live very long. The only thing is that I have a phobia of mice and rats and creatures that look similar to them. Realistically I know it will be me who ends up cleaning the cage out so it has to be an animal I’m comfortable handling.

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Lizards

Although they’re not furry and cuddly there is something quite cute about lizards, especially geckos. You have to feed them live insects which I wouldn’t mind handling and neither would the kids (the idea is that I train them to care for the pet themselves).

Teaching kids responsibility

I’ve come to the conclusion that leopard geckos would make a good starter pet. I like the idea of the kids learning how to be responsible and care for a pet. And even if I’m the one left looking after it, I would be ok with that.
In my heart I know I still want a pet pooch, and so do the kids, but I’ll give it a few years and see how we feel, and more importantly if we can convince my husband!

I’d love any pet owners reading this to give me their opinion on what would make a good pet for kids. And to talk me out of/in to buying a dog!

MummyImperfect x

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the turtle is more than beautiful and so calm..wow thanks for sharing all these pets @mummyimperfect

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Yes it’s cute but will be difficult for kids to look after.

I have a similar issue but I’m the opposite of you. My husband insisted for years that we get a dog for our children , however , I don’t want to . I have so much going on... my kids won’t care for it ... and I’ll end up having to take care of it .... which I honestly don’t even have the energy for . I got the kids a rabbit .... thinking they would care for it ... all they had to do was fill it’s water and food tray ... and clean it’s cage once or twice a week ... but they couldn’t even do that ....so it made me realize they would take care of a dog either !

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If we ever got a rabbit the same would happen to me! And they live longer than I though!
That’s why I’m thinking it’s best to get a pet that I like too so if they lose interest I won’t resent taking care of it. They spoke about it again this morning and apparently want fish so we will probably go for those first.

A hamster is a really good start! And they're easy to take care of.
Pets can be a lot of work. So you're doing the right thing thinking everything through!! I think it's awesome for a kid to have a pet! I'm all for it! It's an emotional support and they learn to take care of it and take responsibility. I grew up with cats and it was the best! This outweighs the negative stuff like smelling etc.

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I really wish I could like hamsters because I agree that they would be a great starter pet. My kids spoke about pets again this morning as we were reading a book about animals. Now we’ve decided the list will be: first fish, then lizards, then a dog! :-D

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Haha ok that's great! I hope everything works out fine!! :)

In the past as a child I had birds and guinea pigs. I had fish as my first pets with my kids. We had them for 2 years but cleaning the aquarium was really time consuming, especially when you go on holiday, you have to be careful not over feed them or you have to find someone who can come to your house to feed the fish and clean the aquarium every 3 days. A goldhamster was our second and she lived for 2 years. Very easy to take care of. I am also scared of rats and mice as I jump immediatey on a chair when I see a mouse. But a goldhamster is so different. they dont have that long tail. They have lots of hair and walk a bit slower. The kids loved to play with the hamster and put the goldhamster in their toys, like cars. If your daughters have a doll house, they can put the goldhamster in their doll house :-D. Goldhamsters can have many things as a toy like toilet paper for their bed. They eat the same as human but without sugar and salt. My goldhamster loves unsalted peanuts, mango, cucumber and boiled pasta :-). With fish you can't really play but they are nice to look at :-). I left our goldhamster for 2 weeks alone and she was still alive and healthy when we came back. we just gave her lots of food which I hided in her cage everywhere, so she could do some effort to look for her food. I also gave her fresh water and a large bucket with sand, because she likes to roll in it like other hamsters. She also just used 1 corner as her toilet. With fish it's different, they use their toilet in the water and it will smell after a few days. With goldhamster it doesn't smell that easily. But I guess having fish as a pet is very common to have as a first pet :-). We would like to have a little chichuahua in the future. Kids should indeed get in touch with animals, play with them and learn to take care of them.

(her mouth full of collected peanuts)
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Hi Fathin, thanks for your comment. Yes I guess it’s true about fish swimming in their own waste. Your hamster looks cute and sounds quite fun. I will ask the kids and see what they say. Not sure if they would be happy handling a hamster. Although I remember that their friend has one and they let it crawl on their arm.

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