05 June 2010

pet fight

Buttercup, our pet bird, died this morning. Her husband, Wesley, died about two and a half years ago, while I was pregnant with Baby J. So, now we are birdless.

For several months now she has been Little B's responsibility - food, water, clean cage. He was doing a stellar job. Much better than I could find time for. I had told him that this was an opportunity to prove to me that he could be responsible for a pet (some of you may remember the hamster from a while back...she probably received less than stellar care, but she was loved and played with). Anyhow, point being that he has shown me he can be more responsible about a pet as he's gotten older.

In truth, I felt a mixture of relief with the sadness over losing my bird. For she was mine - both of them had been gifts from my mother almost five years ago. But as we added babies to the household caring for pets was more of a task than a labor of love. The relief today is much more enhanced by the fact that when we move we will be in a smaller house. And I had no idea how we'd find space for a bird cage. It just felt like an issue I was avoiding. So now, I have no issue to avoid.

I promised the kids a while back that we'd look into a cool fish tank once we got settled someplace. Today, that no longer sufficed. Little B recently found a lovely tortoise that now resides on our front porch in a large plastic bin and gets good care plus yard time every few days. He wants to give that to Grandma because he is afraid of causing it's death (but turning it loose is not a pleasant option, either - I should add that my mother has a history of keeping turtles and tortoises on his behalf...and one in particular has never been allowed to go free in over five years).

So our pet world is now limited to the tortoise in question and one dwarf frog. The kind that come two to a small cube with a bamboo plant growing inside and you add water once in a while and feed it about twice a week through a tiny hole in the top of the lid. Notice I said we have one frog? His name is Jack. As in Sparrow. His cube-mate used to be Will. As in Turner. One day, Will was just a skeleton - and Jack is our resident cannibal, apparently. You know, I think there is a snail that acts as a maid for the frog, so perhaps we could count that as a third pet?

All this said, Little B wants a new pet. Now. No, not the tortoise (I'm not getting his logic here, people!!). And he's steamed that I've requested we wait until we have settled into our new house to choose a pet. He's on the verge of a meltdown. And he's mad as a hornet that his brother and sister are allergic to dogs (Daddy, too, most likely), and I do have compassion for his frustration. Rabbits don't appeal. Guinea pigs might. Gerbils and hamsters just aren't jiving for me - I do not like escaped rodents. Birds are not a practical option for space and noise right now (besides, he wants a Macaw when you get to the bottom of it...which I said we'd talk about as a college graduation gift!). In truth, I'd rather skip the whole pet thing or keep the tortoise (the frog stays either way). I don't like their smell and I will be changing smelly diapers for another 3 years at least - must I contend with a pet's odor as well? Am I just cold hearted??

Does anyone have a good pet suggestion? One that I won't find hiding beneath my bed covers or chewing the carpet? One that will be fairly simple to care for as a nine year old boy who is desperate for a pet, but not so heavy of a task that it becomes a burden. And, from what I'm gathering, is not a fish tank.


Hannah said...

Chickens, of course!!! You'll get eggs! He can feed them and check for eggs! Help his daddy build a coop!

Wesley and Buttercup -- love it. :-)

cjoy said...

That came up and he told me NO CHICKENS! But there's a story to that: I had a pet chicken in 2nd grade (we were living in Puerto Rico) and one day she escaped under the fence, never to be seen again. My mother theorized that the neighbors probably had chicken for dinner....he doesn't want to chance such a fate for his pet. Cracks me up.

StephieAnne said...

Sorry, no answer here unless you could look into those dogs that don't have allergens, aren't there a few like that? My sis had a water dragon (lizard) that was very hard to take care of. The first one was sick from the start and they had to take back and the second only lasted a few months. So - not really a good suggestion.

StephieAnne said...