Their side of the story: pets are fun
“Mom, when can we have a dog?”
“How many stars can get me a dog?” (Our children earn stars for good behavior which they can use to buy a small gift)
“Can I ask Santa for a pet dog?”
Our kids plead to own a dog and offer to care for it too!
“Mom I will take our dog for the walks. So, can we please have one.”
But honey, “Are you ready to pick up the poop as well?”
After a lot of thinking, I hear a reply, “Maybe Papa can do that part.”
Author and illustrator Mo Willems has perfectly represented the idea of owning a dog, in his book ‘The Pigeon wants a puppy.’
In this delightful picture book the pigeon really really wants a puppy. The pigeon is even willing to care for the pup. But when it realizes that a pup is a lot more work than watering it once a month, he settles for another pet idea-“I want a walrus!”
But unlike the pigeon in the book, my kids continue to entertain the thought of owning a dog. And my answer to their request is a BIG NO.
I am not a mean mom or maybe I am! Though biased, I am not perverse to the idea of having a pet, rather I love and adore dogs.
#Shoutout-I am a dog lover from inside out!
My Conundrum: pets are fun, but they are a big responsibility too
The above is true in the reverse order, responsibility followed by fun. After all, a pet is a live being and requires nurturing and care. I cannot even get my plants to blossom amidst my crazy schedule, so how can I even consider a dog!
“But it is not fair Mom that you had a dog when you were a kid, and we can’t have one!”
The above is a valid argument, and my response requires journey into my past.
I grew up with multiple pet dogs. And I am so grateful for all those incredible memories associated with my furry friends. My favorite pet was my brown dachshund! He was my friend, accomplice, my warm pillow, the slime for my mail envelopes, my anti-depressant and sometimes a whistleblower. With all those things bundled in one small package, he is the cutest memory of my childhood. When he passed away, my world fell apart, until I got it all together again.
Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of him to share. But this is close to what he looked like-
So by not keeping a dog at my home, am I not depriving my children of the joys and learnings associated with having a pet? Indeed, I am!
But unlike my childhood, which was in a setting with plenty of household help, we are on our own in Phoenix plus bitten by wanderlust.
The final verdict
Pets are a gift. They teach us to be affectionate without anything in return. I know having one would teach my kids to be more responsible as they make efforts to care for it.
Nevertheless, I am not ready to take up another responsibility amidst the travel, writing, hauling the kids from one class to another, volunteering and the countless work. It would not be fair to leave the poor soul at home alone most of the times when we go out for work or travel. I do not consider our lifestyle to be a fit for a pet dog. Atleast, not for next few years.
For now my children would have to take solace in playing with their stuffed toy pets.