I had pets in my younger life. In fact we had a pet when Emma was a baby. It was a rabbit named Abby, and it was a boy. He was awesome and super cute! But I don’t want any more pets. And I’m trying to teach my kids how much work a pet really is. I’d love for them to have the responsibility of looking after a living thing, but I don’t want to get stuck doing the work. Here are some other reasons we won’t get a pet.
The number one reason why we won’t get a pet is the time commitment. Not only the years of my life that a pet is alive for, but also the hours of the day. Both my husband and I work outside the home so we are not home during the day. And sometimes we’re not home at night either, when the kids are at extra-curriculars or birthday parties, or if we decide to go out for a family evening. I’m not planning my life around how many times I have to go home in a day so I can feed/walk/check on a pet.
My family has pets – if the kids want to see a dog, they’ll go to Nanny’s; a cat – that’s at Grandma and Grandpa’s (actually 3 cats but you know what I’m saying), and even at daycare there are dogs. I love the family pets, but what I don’t love is critter claws on my bare legs in the summer, or when the little dog licks my legs for no reason. And the pet hair – ick! I have enough trouble staying on top of the cleaning in my home without adding pet messes to it!
Now that my kids are out of diapers and baby stuff the last thing I want to be doing is still dealing with poop. When you get a pet you’re signing up for that critter’s lifetime of cleaning up its excrement. Strangely I don’t find myself wanting to do that at all. I’ve been training my kids for the last 7+ years and they’re getting it now – I don’t want to start again.
Don’t get me wrong, pets are cute and great fun. They can be wonderful companions and learning tools for kids, but they can also be neglected. We want to be able to travel whenever we want, without making concessions for our pet. I’ve done the pet-sitter thing, as both a pet sitter and a pet owner, and it’s not great on either side.
Lots of families choose to get a pet when their children are old enough to help look after one. I don’t think we’re going to be one of those families.