Anyone who’s even just acquainted with me knows I love animals, have been around cats, dogs, even fish and farm animals my whole life. Because of this I have been asked from time to time about what the best ‘kind’ of pet might be best for a person thinking about a first pet or a pet for their child, which is the same thing as getting your own new pet in my opinion since you are training a new pet owner. My answer was always the same, do you have children or like children? If so, then what age to you like best?
If you like babies/toddlers, get a dog. Lots of energy and fun to be around but lots of attention is needed and a best practice. They will slow down someday but don’t ever really grow up. Pay particular attention if they suddenly go quiet and aren’t sleeping at your feet.
If you like pre-teens or teens, get a cat. You know they are in the house but as long as there’s food you’ll hear from them when they want you. Be prepared to clean the bathroom yourself, they just won’t. (Disclaimer – I’ve kept all my cats as indoor animals. It’s not my neighbors responsibility to clean up after my teenager, I mean cat.)
If you like most adults better than children keep fish. Feed them, keep the bathroom clean and you can visit when you want to. You can even leave them alone without fear they will trash the place. Quietest house guests in the world.
I had a reminder yesterday of why having dogs is like having a toddler in the house all the time. I am used to checking to see what is in their mouth and we play the ‘drop it’ game some days more than anything else. Sticks, rocks, bird feathers, the pot from the plant you just transplanted, the occasional part of an unlucky lizard. You get the idea. Mostly this is an outside activity and even though we try to keep a dog-safe home we do have those moments indoors as well.
Like the chapstick that must have rolled off the counter. I might not have noticed so soon if the terrier hadn’t decided he wanted in on the fun. I looked down to see the bully-baby delicately, but happily, emptying a tube of lip balm like a tiny ice-cream cone. The cap was laid to the side without so much as a single tooth mark and she was about 1/3 done with the tube firmly clenched between her curled paws. Don’t ask me how she was getting her tongue in there.
The one-sided conversation sounded something like this: Ok, Holly drop it. No, Buddy you can’t have it either. No, don’t even give me those sad eyes. I’m checking the ingredients and then I’m throwing this away. Yes, your lips look soooo soft now. No, Buddy you still can’t have some.
Oh well, it was probably time for a new tube anyway.