What do you do when your child asks for a pet and you’re not quite sure? Read a mother’s musings on how she decided to deal with such a situation at her home.
If you’re like me, you would dread the day your child will ask, “Amma, can we pleeeease have a pet?” All puppy-eyed and a tone full of hope, this question will have you stumped for immediate answers. In my case, R started with ridiculous choices like a dinosaur or a giraffe, eventually boiling down to more plausible ones like a dog, cat or “at least a goldfish”!
The demand for a pet, as is common with kids in this age bracket, has been a consistent feature for a while in our household now. However, the more important point here is whether the household or I am ready for a pet.
To begin with, I’m not what you’d call a pet-loving person. No offense to pet-lovers, please. I don’t recall asking my parents for one. Even if I did I’m sure it was only because my friends did the same. I remember being very scared and uncomfortable around pet dogs and cats. I’d stand stiff holding my breath while the sometimes snarling, sometimes cute creatures would sniff me up to ensure I was no threat to them. How could I be, when they were the ones threatening me? To me at that point! That’s not it. I’ll let you in a secret, the idea of being licked all over terrified me more than being bitten.
As I grew up, I became braver and once I became a mother I even mustered the courage to smile around these furry babies and give them a friendly touch. Now, whatever my personal opinion is, I did not want R to develop a sense of fear or discomfort around pets. But, could I take this to the level of getting one home? It was a tough question. I began by logically arguing my own case:
We don’t have a large space in our house. The apartment we live in is also not too pet-friendly. We have neighbours at each others’ throats because one person’s dog makes scratching sounds and the person staying below cannot bear the sound! The arguments have gotten rather uglier and sillier. As though we did not have enough troubles with human-to-human intolerance, I do not want to add a poor innocent, mute victim to this. Of course, I’m thinking only from the pet’s point of view, so my first argument is:
1. Pets need large, open, friendly spaces. We don’t have that.
I’ve enough work around the house what with strewn shoes, clothes, lotions, newspapers, straws, scissors, glue and sundry things needing to be picked up constantly and put back. Sure, I yell and these do get picked up by the concerned person(s) scattering them but those days are rare and few. Now, do I really want additional responsibilities like pet poo, hair, and other pet elements to be chauffeured to the right areas in the house? The kid is only just learning to do his own things. What about the other adult, you ask? I say, don’t ask! So, enter argument number two.
2. The adult(s) in the house don’t have the bandwidth. The kid needs to be old enough to take care of the pet.
Having a pet is like having another child, really. It needs equal love, time and attention as you’d invest in a child. Not to mention special food, baths, walks, visits to the vet, the whole works that can put a strain on time and money. And, frankly, if you cannot afford to give these in adequate quantities, it’s a grave injustice to the poor being. I’d asked these questions of myself when we pondered over the second in our lives. I’m afraid the answers weren’t satisfactory so I wonder how that can change in the face of a four-legged addition.
3. A pet cannot be a replacement for a sibling. A commitment, once given cannot be revoked.
I guess, after these three solid arguments, I rested the case. In my head. Now, to convince the little fella, it would need some gentle talking and persuasion.
Are you like me? How did you tackle the question of pets in your house?
- This post originally appeared on Uma’s blog, My Musings.