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Hamsters and Waffles and Snakes! Oh My!

January 26, 2011

At one point in my childhood, my family housed two cats, two dogs, a couple of hamsters, a bunch of fish and a newt. My husband also had a pet-filled childhood, including some goats and chickens (I know – hardcore, right?), so it’s odd that we don’t have more animals in our life (unless you count our kids – rimshot!).

We had a lovely, crazy cat named Dude, but he went to the great litter box in the sky shortly after we had our son. Near the end he was peeing all over the place, so I’m worried a new cat would declare open season on my furniture. We also tried three goldfish (Goldie, Goldie and Goldie) but after a few months Goldie had cannibalized his buddies.

I only notice the absence of animals in our home during winter, when neighbours trudge past our house dragging their mutts in the snow, usually while we’re watching Mad Men re-runs in front of a fire. But lately there have been signs that even if I don’t want a pet, apparently I need one. Desperately.

Most children have stuffed animals or dolls that they imagine to be pets, but not my kid: last year my daughter dragged a waffle iron around by the cord calling it “Woofie” for months.

Sit. Good boy.

This year she is Woofie, demanding that we walk her around the house with a skipping rope tied around her waist – but I draw the line at feeding her from a bowl on the floor.

My son’s ideal pet varies from snakes (not gonna happen) to parrots (I’d rather have a snake) to hamsters (I remember sneaking around with my mom to replace my sister’s dead hamsters on what felt like a weekly basis…no thank you).

I blame Bolt.

Both kids have taken to harassing any poor animal that comes within arm’s reach. This was particularly evident when we were in Serbia last summer: in a 48-hour period, they’d adopted three barn cats, two chickens, a cow and some dead bugs.

Since this city slicker doesn’t do the whole farm animal thing, I figure that we need to get a dog this year. Either that or I’m gonna need a new waffle maker.

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. ryoko861 permalink
    January 26, 2011 7:11 am

    Oh, think about that. Vet bills, barking, they have to be bathed constantly, walked, and if you get a puppy, you’re talking about having another child in the house. If you go away, it’s locked up in the house for most the day. Then there’s the constant teasing and poking at it from the kids and you telling them constantly as well to stop it.

    Having pets is over rated in my eyes. Right now I have two cats and 5 chickens. After these guys are gone, no more. I love animals. I was slated to be a veterinarian when I grew up. But the novelty wears off and they become a burden. Get a new waffle iron.

    There’s a difference between wanting a pet and needing one. If your daughter wants to lug around the waffle iron, hey, great. It’s less expensive and she can’t hurt it.

    I think you’re just opening up a can of worms here. l

  2. January 26, 2011 7:23 am

    Sigh…that’s what I’m afraid of…thanks for the input!

  3. January 26, 2011 9:22 am

    I think a dog is the perfect solution. All kids deserve a dog. They are great pets and the best part is they entertain your kids. My toddler spends hours playing with our lab and they are best friends. Labs are sweet and kind and always there for a hug when you need one. A dog can be an amazing pet! I say go for it!

    • January 26, 2011 10:35 am

      I know – my husband and I both had dogs…but it’s a huge commitment that usually falls on the mom, right?

      • January 27, 2011 4:45 pm

        It does fall on the mother most of the time. Our dog is trained to go out the front door, cruise around and come back when he is ready. Maybe a cat for you tho since you are a cat person anyway. good luck-

      • January 27, 2011 9:09 pm

        I’m pretty sure I’ll end up with a cat, dog, hamster and maybe a horse at some point!

  4. January 26, 2011 9:35 am

    I agree that pets are a lifetime commitment (and that, sadly, people treat them as disposable). Yes, a new pet would be a newborn member of the family with all the training to boot. But they joy they bring cannot be measured. I can’t imagine not growing up with pets, as they are such an integral part of my life. Of course, I am a cat person and find that, as pets, they are the least maintenance house pet you can have. They don’t stink like dogs, don’t have to be bathed, don’t need walks. Maybe consider a cat, instead? Independent, just need food, water, love, litter box. (As a kid, our cats were indoor/out and never even used a litter box. Just pawed at the door to go outside). Tough decision, but so glad you’re thinking it through!

    • January 26, 2011 10:36 am

      This is the issue – I’m a cat person, my husband is a dog person and my kids are equally obsessed with both…

  5. January 26, 2011 10:24 am

    Be careful what you wish for! A dog is a huge responsibility when you are already commited to the max. How about starting with a cat? So much easier! Time to visit the humane society and take a look around. You can go there and walk the dogs and test them out on-site. Take your kids. Start with visits there first and see how it goes. This whole dog-thing (& walking the dog) could very well eat into precious writing time. #justsayin.

    • January 26, 2011 10:37 am

      I’m worried a new cat would smell Dude and pee all over the place…thoughts? Also, if I took my kids into the humane society I would FOR SURE be walking out with at LEAST three new pets. Good point on the writing time – I like how your mind works, lady!

      • January 26, 2011 10:48 am

        They make a spray at the pet stores that is supposed to neutralize other pet smells. I used it – sprayed it all over my furniture and carpet – and never had an issue with new kitties peeing. I also think, the younger the new cat/kitten, the less likely the possibility of peeing/marking territory. Our new kittens didn’t care about our old girls’ smell (we had to put her down). Start with a cat ;-). Cats are less distracting with the writing routine, too!

      • January 26, 2011 10:57 am

        You make a damned good argument (plus, my fellow Restless Writers are total cat chicks, so I know where their allegiances are…).

      • January 26, 2011 12:02 pm

        Ohhhh – that’s good to know! I can’t smell anything from Dude (he’s been gone for over 5 years…sniff!) but didn’t want to take chances. And lord knows there are enough of them needing saving at the shelters…

  6. January 26, 2011 10:53 am

    Lord help my fish that I’m leaving with you for 6 weeks… I’ll send over the name of a good pet store in case you need to replace it while we’re gone!

    • January 26, 2011 10:56 am

      Ha!!! Don’t worry – I’ll keep him/her in the middle of the table away from prying fingers…

  7. January 26, 2011 11:38 am

    Ditto everybody above: a cat is the way to go! And good call on NOT taking the kids to the animal shelter. My husband and I went to the ASPCA a few years ago “just to look” since we were thinking about getting a dog. You guess it; we drove home with a puppy. (and that was without kids!) I love my sweet (now huge) dog, but still.

    • January 26, 2011 12:03 pm

      I’m gonna have to work on the Serb, big time. He loved Dude, but is a dog lover through and through…time to dust off my feminine wiles 😉

  8. January 26, 2011 12:27 pm

    I’m too selfish to have pets, no matter how much my kids think they want one. So far, the allergy reason seems to be working. Me and my youngest both swell up around cats especially.

    Do you really want to be paying for a kennel anytime you want to take a long weekend somewhere or go on vacation? Seems like a lot of work, but that’s just me.

  9. January 26, 2011 3:33 pm

    turtles dude…turtles – a dog is WAY too much work and yes it always falls on teh mother…that or wait a few years till you feel they can walk the dog themselves….

    • January 26, 2011 4:06 pm

      Dude – the only turtle coming in my house is covered in nougat and chocolate.

  10. January 26, 2011 4:13 pm

    I seriously don’t think I’ve heard anything so awesome as “a waffle iron named Woofie”!!!!
    I have a slightly used cat your more than welcome too, by slightly used I mean she’s 15. I’ll pay you….

  11. January 26, 2011 10:41 pm

    You’re going to the dark side! My kids ask me every day if they can have a dog. Every day I say the same thing: I have enough trouble keeping you alive.

    Last year, I posted about the buying-a-pet thing. I think this was before we started our bloggilove. Here’s the link if you’re procrastinating doing something productive: http://ironicmom.com/2010/03/24/to-buy-a-pet-or-not-to-buy-a-pet/

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