Monday, October 03, 2011

Animal shortage

A couple of weeks ago, my husband called me from work and suggested that we meet him at the theatre that evening to surprise the kids by taking them to see the Lion King for FHE. I thought it was a great idea, so when the kids got home from school I told them daddy had a special surprise for Family Night and  that if they got all their homework and piano done quickly that we could go. ( I wish I had a similar piece of fruit to dangle everyday because they got right to work!)

Thus, at about 6 o'clock we headed out, and the kids spent the drive trying to guess where we were headed. After numerous incorrect, and sometimes crazy ideas, Laura guessed,"Are we seeing animals?" "Why, yes, we are," I answered. However, since the zoo and the aquarium were both closed by then, this puzzled them.....until we got closer to the theater, which happens to sit right next to a Petco store, and that is when my sweet Kimball began to hyperventilate...

"We are going to Petco! Oh my goodness... We are getting a pet!..... WE ARE GOING TO GET A DOG!!!!!!"

He was convinced. I think he was having convulsions back there in his excitement.

My heart sank.  I had to break it to him that no, once again, we were not going to fulfill his heart's desire and get him a dog. We were simply going to a movie. How quickly something fun turned into a total let down! Poor little boy.

Kimball has always been an animal lover. He does not get this from me or hid dad- it comes straight from his Grandma Neilson. He has the same animal loving soul that she did.  He is fascinated by the wild kingdom out there and came right out of the womb reaching for stuffed animals, plastic dinosaurs, toy horses and reptiles. He especially loves books about animals. While other children check out story books from the library, my son brings home non-fiction books and encyclopedias about tree kangaroos, green mamba snakes, cheetahs or other kinds of wild animals. Every month he soaks up our latest National Geographic magazine with it's pictures and articles on wildlife.

Kimball's first word wasn't "mama," it was "neigh," (as in the sound that a horse makes.) It was an awesome sort of whinnying sound and actually sounded exactly like a real horse. He would toddle around holding his stuffed horse and say that all day long. I can't remember what his second word was, but it was most likely "moo," or "oink" or something along those lines.

It is because of this sweet natured boy of mine that I am starting to feel very guilty that I don't care for animals. I just don't want a creature to pick up after. I don't want to smell them, and I don't want them destroying my furniture. We have a small house! The last thing I need is something else under foot in addition to the toys and shoes and backpacks and miscellaneous what-nots that are always here already. And no matter what anyone says, we all KNOW  that I would end up the main popper-scooper around here! But.....I still feel guilty.....My animal obsessed son is almost 10 years old and I have yet to give in and get him a "real" pet.

Does this make me heartless?

We've done the fish and even the little lizards, but since you can't cuddle either, they apparently don't count and recently Kimball's desire for a real pet has grown exponentially. It certainly didn't help when he attended a birthday party last Friday where the birthday boy had just gotten a giant bearded dragon for his birthday. He wore that ginormous lizard on his shoulder all through the party, and Kimball thought he was the coolest,  luckiest boy who ever lived (Of course this same boy also has a dog, so his parents REALLY love him.) Since that party, Kimball has worn a plastic lizard on his shoulder, or on his lap,  ALLday long for 3 days. A rubber plastic lizard is what my son is reduced to for his companion. Here you can see it resting on his knee while he plays DS:

Last week Kimball told me that sometimes in class they talk about their pets and it makes him very sad because he's never had one.


I keep telling the kids that someday, when we have a bigger house, or a bigger yard, or even just a bigger garage that I will consider getting a dog.... but that is just my excuse to avoid ever getting one. ( I know....heartlesS). Is my misery worth the joy on my sons face? I can't decide.

The hubby (seriously, I need to come up with a good nick-name besides, "He Who Shall Not Be Named.) thinks that if we concede we should get a redbone hound. Crazy!!That is a big, dog!! He would take up a lot of space.

What if we get a dog, and I hate having it around (which is likely), then I just can't take it so we have to sell him off or give him away? Wouldn't that be worse than never having had one? I am just trying to protect him from further sorrow, right?


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Danika said...

We have never had pets either (not even fish or lizards, so you're already ahead of us!). My kids keep asking for a dog, but since 2 of the 3 are TERRIFIED of dogs (even though they are the ones asking) it makes for a good excuse. I would probably be okay with getting one if it could be a totally outdoor dog, but that just seems cruel in our extreme summer heat. I just can't stand the smell and mess they make in the house.

holly said...

I could write a novel on this topic...

I grew up with pets and loved them dearly. But they were always outside! I always knew we would get a dog, but after annie got diagnosed with diabetes, we ended up getting a lab that will be trained to alert us if her sugars are low. Cool, eh?

The problem is, that means she needs to be an indoor dog. And as much as I love her, I am really struggling with this. She pooped on my nice area rug (TWICE) which caused me to have an out of body temper tantrum...I nearly killed that dog.

I will say though, that the kids pick up the poo. period.

If I were you, I would look into getting a older dog...maybe 6 months old or so, so you can observe temperament. Do some research online, and really decide if you can handle it. AFter all, it is like having another baby.

Good luck!

Amanda Neilson said...

That is super cool that dogs can sense blood sugar! I've never heard of that before.

Now, if I could find one specially trained to clean bathrooms I would be in!

Kristy said...

guinea pigs are a great solution...they are snuggly, low maintanance (no vets, clean cage 1x week, feed leftover veggies, can live in a large tupperware box with the lid off of course). just make sure you don't leave them outside or in the car when it's 70 degrees...mike murdered madisons.

ZAC said...

We had a goldfish once. It lives for about 3 years and was a major part of our lives... :( And low maintenance pets are a must for me at this point of family life!

I don't think you are at all heartless. You are being PRACTICAL. I have the same dilemma here in Denver where most people have dogs or children, or both. I'm already training enough children and trying to stay sane at the same time, so why add a dog into the mix? It's just not the right time. When the children are trained well enough, then I might break down and get a dog. For now, I'm perfectly fine saying "NO!", and using the "when you do everything I say" card on our children as leverage for getting a pet, haha!


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