Friday, November 9, 2012

Why We Don't Need a Pet

We recently took care of my sister’s pet rat while she was away for a few weeks, and my kids were delighted to have a pet for a little while. My son told me often, with longing in his voice, “Mama, I just love this fuzzy little guy.” Both kids were remarkably careful and gentle with her, and spent hours just watching her in her cage. So after she went back home, a number of people asked me if we would be getting a pet of our own in the near future. My reply was a resounding NO. As of right now, there are lots of reasons NOT to get a pet (my kids aren’t old enough to help take care of it, for one thing), but most of the reasons people give TO get a pet, our household already has covered. Here are the reasons why we don’t need a pet:

1.      Pets are happy to see you when you get home.

I have two kids who squeal with excitement and practically turn themselves inside out when I walk in the room, whether I’ve been gone for 3 hours, 3 minutes, or 3 seconds. And if even they get so excited that they pee themselves, they're wearing diapers so I don't have to clean up the carpet.

2.      Pets are nice to snuggle up with at the end of the day.

After supper, my kids love to snuggle with me and read a few books. Plus, they don’t shed on the couch.

3.      Nothing makes you feel as special as a pet licking your face.

Except for your kids licking your face. And your kids are less likely to have just drunk out of the toilet. They may have splashed in it, but they probably didn’t actually drink out of it.

4.      Pets are great for finishing up leftovers.

My kids would snack all day long if I’d let them. That last spoonful of mac and cheese or applesauce or those last few wedges of orange are just the right size to make them happy without spoiling their dinner. They even lick the plates clean so I don’t have to rinse them before I put them in the dishwasher.

5.      Pets love you unconditionally.

My kids randomly come up to me and give me big hugs and kisses without warning. My son tells me, “I love you, Mama,” all the time, even right after I’ve punished him. Which is almost never because he's just peed on the rug or eaten my favorite pair of socks.

6.      Having a pet makes sure you get regular exercise.

Anyone who’s met my children knows that they make sure I get plenty of exercise.

7.      Pets help you meet people and make new friends.

Strangers come up to me all the time to talk about my kids. In fact, it’s a rare occasion that I’m out in public with my kids that someone doesn’t approach me with a smile and a pleasant comment about them. My latest babysitter is a result of a stranger commenting on how adorable my kids are. And they have yet to bite a single stranger.

8.      Pets assure that you have a daily routine.

We refer to my kids as the “baby alarm clocks” because they wake up within a 15-minute window like clockwork every morning. Their inner dinner bells chime at the same time for every meal. And they conk out at exactly the same time every night. They make sure I have a daily routine whether I want to or not.

9.      Taking care of another living thing is satisfying.

Yes, yes, it is. Especially when it can tell you, "Thank you" in words.

10.   Having a pet is good protection from burglars.

My kids won’t bark at or bite an intruder, but I guarantee you that any prowler trying to make his way through my truck- and Lego-strewn house in the dark will not make it very far. And if he does, the sounds of breaking plastic and muffled groans of pain will certainly wake us up in time to call the cops.

 Maybe someday we’ll be ready to get a pet, but not right now. So if you’ll excuse me, someone seems to be scratching at the door of my office begging to be let in.

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