|A puppy in search of food|
Has your child ever come up to you and said, “I want a pet.” This almost happened at my house. I say almost because my son didn’t say this phrase to me. However, he did mention these words to his dad. And like magic, a dog appeared at our house…well not quite magic, but I am now part pet owner.
The last time I was a pet owner was when dinosaurs roamed the earth or when I was about 12 years old. My kids never owned a pet when they were younger because they were always involved in after school activities. By the time we finished dinner and homework, I was tired. I stand corrected, the boys did have one low maintenance pet, a goldfish. It survived for a while.
Now that my son is older, I guess he feels that he is ready to be responsible or at least he must have convinced his dad of this. It was a few days after Christmas when Diamond arrived, looking up at me innocently with a plea in her eyes that said can I stay? Diamond is still here and her owner has gone back to school several hundred miles away. This is how I became part pet owner.
There are three things you should know about pet ownership before you take the plunge.
1. Owning a pet is a big responsibility – choose a pet that fits your lifestyle. It you’re not home much, perhaps you want a pet that doesn’t require a lot of attention. When I was younger my pet of choice was hamster. I played with her after school and she remained in her cage during the day.
2. Learn about the characteristics/care of the pet you’re interested in – with dogs, some of them shed more than others. When we had goldfish, I had to remind the boys not to overfeed it.
3. Choose a pet that you AND your child like – keep in mind that you will be the primary caregiver. I like dogs, but I was not ready for one when Diamond came home. I knew having a puppy would be like having a baby, she requires constant attention. Potty training means taking her outside every hour (the dog, not the baby) to get her used to taking care of her business outside and not on your carpet.
If your child comes to you and says, “I want a pet” ask him if he has done his research on his pet of choice. The next step will be for you to prepare for your new parenting role.
Do you own a pet? What was your experience when your pet first came home?