Pet ownership (HLD 50)

11 May 2020

Today marks the third anniversary of the day our latest four legged pet arrived in our lives. The dark brown 8 week old bundle of fluff and sharp teeth very quickly adapted to her adoption into this family and hasn’t looked back. I think.

Since Simon and I got married, some 150 years ago or thereabouts, we’ve had pets. We started off with a cat, threw in another cat, some birds, got a dog, and we’ve rarely not had an animal of some sort in our family.

We’ve had cats, dogs (this one of our third overall), fish, birds, rabbits, rats, axolotyls, and yabbies. And of course a couple of human children as well, just so the pets had someone to play with.

Every one of our pets has had personality of its own, some more dramatic than others. Special mention goes to the rabbit by the name of Roger who used to catch you unawares by humping your leg (Roger by name, roger by nature), and LeeLee, the psychotic free-range (inside the house – apart from a couple of notable occasions) budgie who had more lives than a bunch of cats put together. And whose favourite food was gravy. From someone’s dinner plate. And soft drink that she would lower herself into someone’s glass to get a mouthful of. There are many many LeeLee stories, that quite frankly she could be not only a blog of her own, but probably a novel. A trilogy maybe 🙂

Now there are pet people, and non pet people. I understand that, and cast no judgment. But I believe that our lives are better with pets in them.

Do they cost a lot of money? You bet they do! Anyone who tells you that this bird/fish/dog hardly costs a thing is lying. If it’s not the animal, it’s the food or paraphernalia that goes with it, that will cost you. And the other problem is the unexpected costs – the minute you think your pet is healthy and you haven’t seen the vet in ages…boom!!! There go the anal glands 🙈

Do they hinder your ability to travel? You bet! You might be able to leave fish in a pond for a quick trip away, but anything else you’re going to need a pet sitter of some sort.

But… have you ever sat on a cold winters night with a cat curled up on your knee? Or spent time as a family marvelling at what that budgie is up to now? Walked along the beach in the bush, watching your dog excitedly investigate – and pee on – everything!

There’s lots of studies that have been done by people more knowledgable than me on the benefits of interactions with pets. There’s talk too about how having pets teaches children responsibility. I dispute that, but it does teach them how to round up rabbits who have escaped their enclosure, retrieve a budgie who is trapped upside down behind a book in the bookcase, throw a ball for a ball obsessed blue heeler, and once in a blue moon maybe, to feed the animal without being nagged.

There was a time between our last cat dying and the time that Chewie came into our lives, around six months in our house where we had no pets. Zip, zilch, nada, nothing. No restrictions to travel, no extraneous expenditure, no random allergies, nothing.

I couldn’t cope. I had to talk to my husband.

So I went out and got a dog. And while walking the dog, I met people in my neighbourhood I wouldn’t have met otherwise! Everyone wants to stop and talk to someone with a cute puppy dog, trust me!

My dog has a better and more meaningful relationship with the lady from the coffee shop than I do, and that’s saying something!

So to those of you out there with no pets in your lives, who would (normally) have no restrictions for travelling, no ‘emergency anal gland operations’ interrupting your budgeting, no poo bag supply in the pockets of literally every jacket you own, good luck to you. If you feel the need in your happy happy lives to have a dog lick behind your ears, you know where I live 🙂

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