|Sweet and difficult little Oliver|
Growing up we always had at least one pet, most of the time multiples. We had dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, fish; I think we even had mice at one point, possibly a gerbil? Like I said, we had a lot of pets. (Not all at the same time!)
I don’t dislike animals. I didn’t mind having pets growing up. But now as an adult, our family of five does not have pets. And to clarify, we have no intention of ever having a pet again.
Just two months after buying our first house, my husband and I adopted a 9-month-old beagle mix stray. We had no children at that point. We had a large backyard. Everything seemed pretty awesome. We enjoyed Oliver’s company. He was a sweet dog. But he was simply too much to handle.
Just after finding out I was pregnant a second time (before even knowing that two babies were growing inside me) we made the difficult decision to turn Oliver back in to the adoption agency he came from. We felt really bad but we knew we couldn’t give him what he deserved. – By the way, he was quickly adopted by a lovely family with older children and other beagles and several acres of land to explore. – We still display a picture of Oliver in our home and our oldest remembers him and asks about him every once in a while.
- Allergies: My husband and daughter are allergic to cats. We tried a dog and it didn’t work long term. Every once in a while I’m told that cats make better pets or we should get smaller animals. It’s hard to commit to a new animal knowing we already have pet allergies and have no idea what else we could have a reaction to. Itchy, red and watery eyes are not fun.
- Messy: Animals eat and poop just like humans. They make messes. I have three kids to clean up after. That’s the most I can handle. I can hardly keep their play space clean as it is, I don’t need dog hair or mud tracks to worry about too. My kids pick up tiny dust bunnies and crumbs with their newfound pincer grasp. The last thing I need is them eating a crumb of dried mud (or worse poop) tracked in on the dog’s foot. (Or tracked around from the cat’s litter box.)
- Expensive: We are a one income family. I do a minimal amount of freelance work on the side to help fund extras like fun vacations and family outings but our day to day expenses are all paid for by the hard work my husband does. We are already scraping every last nickel out of our bank account each paycheck trying to buy healthier food options for us and our kids. We simply cannot make room for more expenses. Pets have to be fed. They have to have meds to stay healthy. They need beds and outdoor shelter. They need collars or cages; leashes or hamster balls. They need toys to play with. (Or they chew up or ruin your kids’ toys.) They aren’t free. They don’t just hang out at the house.
I know at some point my girls will be old enough to help take care of pets and quite possibly will beg for one with their sad droopy eyes and pouty lips. I’m not saying I’m completely against the idea of a pet. (Because remember, I’m not an animal hater.) But right now in our lives, we definitely don’t have room for pets. Maybe (and that’s a BIG maybe) we’ll talk about it again in the future. Honestly though, I think I’d rather have another child than get a pet!
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Tags: Heather C.