I think that you can put pretty much put people into one of two camps: those who love animals and those who are happy to give them a miss. I fall into the first category, though I'd class myself as really 'a cat' person. However my days of being a 'cat person' came to sudden halt seventeen years ago when I left home and David and I got our first home together. You see it is true when they say that love is blind, because I, the 'cat person', moved in and subsequently married a man who has an allergy to cats: a man who I'd say falls into that second category. During the past seventeen years I've opted for second best with hamsters and rabbits, which were all very cute and fluffy, but pets in my life gradually tapered out. Since having children we've not had any pets. Maybe it was a subconscious decision not to mix animals and babies in those early days. For the past six years we've been a non-pet family of four.
However, Lily has recently been making noises about wanting a pet. Arthur is the next Johnny Morris in the making so he'd no doubt be by her side on this current pet campaign. Much to their delight I am on their side too. David however is on the other side.
Other than the two opposing camps David and I find ourselves in regarding our love or not for animals, we have two difficult arguments on the subject. It's very much head versus heart. David isn't strictly anti pet. I believe he would be happy for the children to have a pet, but when they are a bit older to take on the responsibility of owning one. He also thinks that hamsters, which are our most realistic option at the moment, don't live longer enough and the children would be heart broken when a couple of years in it joins the giant hamster wheel in the sky. He argues that if we put it off until we move house in a couple of years time and get a 'proper garden' we could get a rabbit which ought to live for considerably longer than a hamster. We had a few hamsters years back and they never got past their second birthday's. It's a very practical and sensible argument; I can see that.
However, I truly believe that a pet is so important in a child's life. They can learn and experience so much through having a pet; how to love, how to care, how to respect and how to take responsibility. Secondly, Lily, unlike Arthur, wasn't a born animal lover. She really wants to be, but it's fair to say she can be nervous around them. But she really does seem to want a pet and I think it would do her good. The pet thing is coming from her, rather than me putting the idea in her head, so maybe the time is right. I don't want to put it off until we move. Two years, could easily morph into three or four and Lily could be ten before she has her first pet. Precious time wasted.
Lily currently has a 'pet shell' that she keeps in a box in her bedroom and Arthur will nurture any ladybird or ant (which he collectively calls 'animals') that he finds in our garden. Somehow, I feel that we are currently selling them short.