We went to see the movie The Secret Life of Pets at the weekend and it got me thinking about the subject in general. I particularly liked the bit where the cat lobs a ball with disdain for her two dog friends and they scatter just as a budgie picks up a laser pointer and the cat then goes crazy chasing the red dot. It’s so true! Cats love a laser dot!
It occurred to me recently that, despite not having pets ourselves, my kids actually know quite a collection of dogs (and a couple of cats) owned by family and friends.
I did go through a phase of worrying that by not having pets I am somehow depriving my children of some key element of childhood and coming of age – learning all those lessons about looking after another creature with care and consistency and also, in the end, learning about grief and coming to terms with the idea of life cycles.
My (soon to be ex) husband’s family are big dog lovers – my in-laws (out-laws now?) have a Yorkshire terrier and my sister in law has two of the same. Our next door neighbours have three pugs and we’ve been on dog walks with them lately. My cousin Robyn has a little Chihuahua (I think!) called Bubba.
My sister has two Tonkinese cats who are little characters. The children’s half sister has two whippets and they keep chickens in their back garden too. The husband’s new girlfriend has a Jack Russell called Marley and JJ says that not only does he have two mummies but he also has a ‘dog brother’ too #rollingeyeemoji.
So, yes, plenty of animals for the children to spend a bit of time around. Lately though, I’ve begun to wonder whether I might soften a bit on the animal front at some point. I have quite enjoyed the dog walks – having that reason to go out and get some air and exercise at the end of the day; some cute little faces; happy children…
Having said that I’m afraid I will never allow an animal with stinky breath to lick my face in bed (or anywhere!). So there’s that… Maybe I can see a stick insect somewhere in our future… Or maybe the snail that is hiding somewhere in our living room (see: silvery trails appearing on the carpet overnight) is good enough…
Do you think that pet ownership is a pre-requisite for childhood?