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Am I ready for a pet?

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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 aka I'm ready for this.

To begin with, I'm or was never 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 inmates 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. And, 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, 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 with 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 to self 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. Argument number three, then:

3. A pet cannot be a replacement for a sibling. A commitment, once given cannot be revoked for the next 10 years, at least. 
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?


Comments

  1. Am asking these very questions now. However, the flip side is that kids do learn to be more responsible and compassionate.

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    1. That's true, AKA. There are definitely a lot of pluses to having pets. Thanks for reading and welcome here :-)

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  2. I grew up around pets and am a huge fan of pets but my life today does not allow room for a pet given point #1 of your list. My child has been trying to convince us to get her a puppy but my argument of her having to take care of it, feed it, take for walks, comb its hair and so much more has convinced her that she isn't ready for the responsibility yet.
    No denying that pets make affectionate companions and kids learn so much around them, but making room for them and shouldering the responsibility well are things we need to get the kid involved in, it helps them see our POV better.

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    1. It's great that Pari understood enormous responsibility that comes with pets was convinced too. In my case, R says he'd do it all. Of course, he's only 6 and I cannot take his word for it.

      Completely agree about getting them involved. They need to understand what they are getting into.

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  3. I'm like you... Not a pet person at all. I am stiff around them too. Aa is four and is saying when Viv grows up we should have a pet. I'm acting deaf hoping it'll go away if I ignore. But who am I kidding, I know it's gonna come back if it ever went away.
    Pets are imo a bigger responsibility than kids. i think if love for animals/ pets come naturally only then you should consider having one ... Else as you said it's unfair to the pet.
    And yes I am a stickler for cleanliness... I cannot imagine dog hair cat hair poop or pee 😁😁😁😁
    I might get them a goldfish if they press too much but that's about it!

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    1. Fish tanks require frequent cleaning, fish need to be fed properly and even then they die. So more cleaning of the tank! Are you ready, Purnima? ;-) You're definitely my soul sistah.

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  4. Nope not a pet person at all. The entire extended family has pets or has had them at some point. I cannot abide the smell, the constant hair shedding, the commitment and the huge amount of work that comes with them. Also I am a little scared to invest emotionally in an animal. Does that sound weird? It's a bit like having a child who never grows up. That's a little scary. However, of late I have to admit I have vaguely thought about a pet at some point in my life - when the kids are older and when we have more space at home. Just a very vague 'maybe'.

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    1. Ditto on that part about having a child who never grows up. Yes, I've told the kid I'll think about this when he's 12. Talk about deferring the issue :-)

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  5. Fish is a decent option Uma, and the technology of filters have helped us to clean only one in few months . But fishes to die and need daily feeding but takes only few secs and R should be able to handle that. Of course leopards as pet is also good choice in your neighborhood.

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    1. Oh, fish is a good option you say? Hmm...maybe I'll think. Ya sure, leopards are a great choice..after all cat family. I might even earn money by charging a premium rate from visiting guests ;-)

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  6. Nice one Uma.we have got fishe's and cat at home. .i am a complete pet lover to such an extend that we had a monkey as pet when I was a child..;) to be honest my hubby was confused whether we are ready for pets now buy I cud see a great differemce in my daughters behaviour after having a cat. Their TV time has reduced considerably and they feel like responsible sisters with cat around. :) dogs are hard to maintain buthe cats are damn cool. Zero maintenance I would say.. we need some cleaning but if you really like them you wouldn't mind doing it.��

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    1. That's the point, Ranjani. I'm a pet averse person. Never liked them. No dogs, no cats. I'm not sure I'll be able to change that for the kid. I've asked him to wait till he's older. That way, I can also see if he's really serious or if this is just a fad.

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  7. Super like....ditto ditto everywhere...... I could have written this....haha

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    1. Hahaha, Chitra! It's not for nothing we are sisters ;-)

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  8. You have analysed it all so well that you would make a super pet owner; eyes wide open. But you're right, until you have time to commit to them, you can't.
    I was sure I wanted a pet when I moved to this house, with no more commuting, and very little required travel for work. But what to have? Advice from friends made me look at guinea pigs, and I fell in love. But the prospect of holding them, and them squiggling and wanting to jump out... what would I do?! Thanks to my first two, Fred and George, my five-year commitment to their average life length has turned into a constant procession (and the heartache that goes with it). But most of them have been discarded pets when the kids lost interest (and one when the family simply moved out and left them), and 'accidents' when males and females were left together. Victims of neglect, one way or the other.
    So I totally agree with you. Don't do it. Until you're ready, or he's ready to commit to looking after it, and in truth, kids can't, because they grow too fast.
    Good luck :)

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    1. Your experience with pets brought a smile to my face, Jemima. It must be a pleasure giving love and a home to these little ones. Yes, kids do lose interest and then it's again up to the adults in the house.
      I'm definitely going to wait till the kid grows up a bit.
      Thanks for reading and writing in, Jemima :-)

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  9. yes .. pets are a committment , when i came to uk after a few months I got myself a dog, but I had to give it back after 2 weeks because I was feeling guilty leaving him home all day alone..


    and Then I dug myself a little pond and had a little fountain and some fishes so when i changed houses I tool the Pond with me :) it is such a lovely feeling sitting out in the garden next to the pond where the fishes come up and down but as you say its a committment ..

    all the best :)

    Bikram's

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    1. wow, Bikram, you made yourself a little pond and all! True that about commitment.
      Thanks, Bikram! :-)

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  10. From giraffe to goldfish haha

    I have fish and had birds. But the hear longs for a dog. But can't go for one precisely for all the reasons you elaborated so well in the post

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    1. I'm not sure I want to keep birds and I used to think fish are a lot of work too. Now, I do have to come up with a good plan before the boy drives me up the wall!

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  11. That was a nice read! As a kid I always wanted pets and I've raised pretty much every kind of pet - dogs, cats, birds, fishes, turtles, rabbits etc. I was allowed to have pets only if I was responsible enough to take care of them completely.. and I did. It holds some of the best memories of my childhood. I hope some day my children get to experience it too. Some of life's best lessons can be learnt from having a pet. Yes, it is hardwork... but what you gain from it is far more than what you lose.

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    1. Wow, Dee. I'm having mostly pet-lovers commenting here and I must say I'm a bit swayed with all the positives. Not that I didn't know about them before. The commitment and time that comes with it is a scary aspect.

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