Sunday Scribblings – I Regret …

sundayscribblings2

I regret the fact that I do not care for animals.

I wish I did, I truly do. But when it comes right down to it, I don’t want to live with animals.

Of the wild kingdom kind, not of the human male kind. :)

Before I go any further, I’d like to ask that if you are an animal lover that perhaps this is not the best post for you to read. It’s never been my intention, either now nor in the past, to enrage my readers by simply being myself and/or expressing my true feelings, but I can’t apologize for the way I am, either.

I simply do not care to be around animals.

Now, for those careful readers out there, note that I said “I don’t CARE FOR animals”, I did not say I did not LIKE animals.

In fact, I’m always the first to ooh and aah over a particularly cute animal. I visit Cute Overload and Daily Puppy every day (ask my husband, he laughs at me), and I drool over the sheer cuteness of these animals.

Whenever I’m around animals I don’t freak out or act repulsed whenever they come near me – I pat them on the head, talk baby talk to them and generally act like a complete fool.

I am not afraid of animals, though the fact that they are unpredictable beings who act purely on instinct does make me a tad nervous.

And I have never, nor will ever, advocate being cruel to animals – they are innocent beings who deserve love, just like humans do.

However,

I have no desire, none, as in absolute zero, to have them in my home or to be forced to take care of one.

Therein lies my problem.

nopets1 Ever since the boys came along, and when they were old enough to recognize a dog and say “doggie,” we’ve been fighting the should we or should we not get a dog battle. When they were little, I had the excuse that I was afraid the dog would turn on them and bite them, or something worse. And though that was definitely a valid argument, I confess to driving that point home a little harder than necessary because it gave me the perfect excuse NOT to have the animal in my home.

But then the boys got older and the issue came up again. And they (and when I say, I’m including the husband here) were PERSISTENT. And even though I tried to point out to them that if we had an indoor dog that we would have to deal with the pee, the poo, the late-night barking/whining, the chewing, the general destruction of our property, the fact that our indoor carpets would soon look like outdoor carpets, the expense of feeding and entertaining the thing, and of course the insane vet bills that didn’t discourage them, – they wanted a dog.

This persistence went on for YEARS and I finally caved.

We bought a Jack Russell Terrier puppy. And he was adorable. And playful. And insanely energetic. And we were so UNPREPARED for that type of dog, it’s not even funny. In hindsight, of course, we should have researched what sort of dog would have suited us. If we had, then we would have KNOWN that the Jack Russell Terrier breed simply wasn’t for us.

But we didn’t know this. And that dog … wow. Was like trying to catch a bouncing ball in a handball game. We couldn’t keep up with it. Our yard is not fenced in, so we couldn’t let it outside to run off it’s energy. So we took it for walks … which were a disaster because being an active breed to begin with and then the fact that he was a healthy puppy, well, let’s just say that dog took US for a run, not a walk, around the neighborhood.

And then the barking. And the whining. And the fact that it wanted to play in the middle of the night. And then the biggie, the fact that it wasn’t house broken. We tried keeping him in the carrier thing, but he just pooped in the carrier. We tried cordoning him off in our utility room, but we woke up to poop smeared all over the floor, the walls, the dog, his carrier, his food and even in his water.

It was bad enough that it made the husband gag.

I ended up despising that dog simply because I didn’t know what to do with it. To my utter surprise and disappointment, dogs don’t come with an on and off switch.

Skip, our puppy, was six months old when he got away from us and got hit by a car. In front of the boys. On my birthday. In fact, we were on our way out to my birthday dinner when it happened.

The boys were heartbroken. And it broke my heart to see them so … changed.

From that point on, I VOWED we would never have another dog.

Well guess what. The dog bug has taken a hold of our house once again. The boys are teenagers now and though they SWEAR they would take care of it, and I believe them, the fact remains that the times they weren’t here, as in every day, for six hours more than 3/4 of the year because they are at school, and even after they graduated they would be gone all day to either college or their jobs and the husband would be gone for 12 hours every week day, I would be the dog’s primary caretaker because I would be home with the animal all day, every day.

I. Simply. Do. Not. Want. That. Responsibility.

I don’t want the stress. I don’t want to donate the time it would take. The thought of bathing the dog (because wet dog smell absolutely makes me gag and EXTREMELY cranky) and leaving the bathroom wetter than the dog, DOES NOT APPEAL TO ME.

I’ve listed the pros, I’ve listed the cons, and the cons FAR OUTWEIGH the pros in my book.

The cuteness factor would fade very quickly for me and then I would be stuck taking care of an animal I did not want around to begin with and I would be angry and resentful.

I don’t want that. And I know my family doesn’t want to live with that.

So, we had an argument last night at dinner. Three against one and I feel like a big meanie for not wanting this. And the husband is not helping by giving the boys (it’s mainly GD who wants the dog) hope by saying, “Well, maybe after we get back from vacation this summer,” when he KNOWS, it’s not going to happen. He just says that so GD’s anger and resentment is directed to me when I have to become the bad guy.

And I’m SICK AND TIRED of being the bad guy all the time.

I know some of you out there are thinking, “But Karen, just give it a chance. Not all dogs are that energetic. You just had the wrong kind. If you just did this, or you just tried that, it would be all right.”

And you’d be right. We definitely made the mistake with the breed of dog the first go-around and I know there are dogs out there better suited to my personality and would be fairly easy to take care of, but the bottom line is, I don’t want to. I don’t like dogs. I know that sounds selfish, and I’m sorry, but there you go, it’s how I feel. I simply do not like dogs enough to want to take care of one.

*sigh*

The husband suggested trying another kind of pet. We’ve had fish in the past, but the husband ended up being the one to clean the tank because I played the girlie card and was too squeamish to deal with it, and so he doesn’t want to go that route again because it’s a huge pain in the butt (see? It’s okay for him to avoid the kind of pet that HE would have to take care of), so he’s suggesting a gerbil.

A rodent. Swell.

However, I’m a fair person. And given the fact that gerbils are quiet and contained, and relatively clean (at least I think so, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be researching gerbils after publishing this post), I think I could agree to that.

Anything is better than a dog at this point. (Cats are out too, the husband despises cats).

So who knows? We may be making a trip to the pet store later today to look at gerbils. And if I’m posting pictures of a gerbil in tomorrow’s post, you’ll know I’m the reluctant owner of a pet gerbil.

Of all things.

11 thoughts on “Sunday Scribblings – I Regret …

  1. Karen,

    You know me about as well as you can through blogs and email. You know I love pets. I’ve had close to 100 dogs if you count dogs I only had a for a few days becuase I rescued them on spec and was able to find another home. I’ve had maybe a dozen cats. Hamsters, a ferret, fish, turtles, rabbits and even a snake (though that wasn’t mine).

    Do. Not. Get. A. Rodent.

    If you like animals but don’t really want to be stuck taking care of them rodents are a bad choice. They smell. And they make you house smell. If you have even the smallest bit of clean freak in you, this will drive you crazy.

    Dogs and cats really are the lowest maintanence options. from your description if you ultimately decide to give a dog another chance, I’d go to the pound and adopt an older dog. Not an old one, but one that’s maybe 4 or 5. Usually the pound can tell you if a dog is housebroken already. And one that’s medium size. Smaller dogs are more hyper. Larger are stronger.

    I’m not suggesting that you get one, but if you do decide to, getting one that’s a better fit will make the experience better for everyone.

  2. DON’T get a gerbil. Seriously… I’m a big fan of rodents as pets (I’ve had rats, mice and hamsters), but gerbils tend to be biters. They don’t “bond”. They just aren’t a good pet.

    Rats are, but they don’t have the cuteness factor. I prefer rats over any other rodent (they cuddle, they are REALLY smart, you can teach them tricks, they bond with their owners), but most folks can’t get past their tails…

    If you HAVE to choose one, get a guinea pig. They bond. They almost never bite. They “purr” when they’re happy.

    Dogs are a huge committment. They are like having a toddler forever. I have a dog, I’ve always had dogs. I love dogs. But they aren’t for the faint of heart or for people who aren’t willing to make them a priority.

    Guinea Pig.

    Really.

  3. i get what you’re saying.. my mum says the same thing; it’s a huge responsibility. but i don’t think my family can live without a dog :)
    once they’re house-trained and trained in general (in terms of behaviour etc) they end up being irreplaceable. mum goes to the extent of saying our Labrador is her constant companion.. her kids will go away and live their lives at some point.

    but if a dog is too high maintenence, why don’t you try a cat. they definitely won’t get run over. or even a turtle. my friend got a turtle and she’s in love.. has time to look after him too.

    hope something works out. cheers.

  4. Floreta – you’re right. I really think it boils down to the responsibility of taking care of a pet. I love other people’s pets, I love looking at pictures. But actually being around one for an extended period of time or being responsible for it’s care just makes me impatient.

    It also boils down to the fact that dogs, are messy. They stink. They wallow in all sorts of disgusting germs and then lick faces. They’re messy. They’re noisy. They just seem like too much work for the effort.

    Maybe it REALLY just boils down to the fact that I’m too lazy to deal with it? And they’re so … unpredictable.

    Thanks for the advice, oregonsunshine. I do believe our pet-free days are coming to an end. *sigh*

  5. Actually Karen, I was going to suggest a guinea pig instead. The reasoning? Guinea pigs are sweet and sociable. Gerbils are illegal in some states, so if one of the boys wanted to take it to college, he might not be able to. And, some bite. They’re not exactly cute and cuddly either. Hamsters are just as bad. Specifically, they’re anti-social.

    Why don’t you tell us more about what you as a family want out of a pet? Then maybe the rest of us could give you some good ideas.

    And if you get talked into going the dog route again, talk to me before ya’ll pick out the dog you bring home. I’m a former dog trainer and I might be able to help you figure out what you’re ALL looking for first.

    In the mean time, enjoy your pet free time. It sure sounds like it’ll be coming to an end.

  6. i am mostly just fascinated that you can look at cute animal pictures and go ga-ga but don’t like animals. i guess from what i’ve read it just means you don’t like the responsibility. and yes, jack russells are definitely NOT a starter breed for ‘beginners’. i had one but only with a lot of research and knowing that my active lifestyle was a good match. they are actually my favorite breed now. and did you know that jack russells can live up to 20 years BUT they mostly die unnatural deaths due to their personalities putting them at risk (like getting run over). interesting..

  7. We just went to three different pet stores and do you know, not one of them had gerbils? Hamster, yes. Guinea pigs, yes. Even mice and rats (EW!), but no gerbils.

    I’m a bit relieved, if you want the truth.

    And I know animals are a sensitive subject for a lot of people and it’s hard to understand someone who doesn’t like animals when you do, but it’s equally hard to understand people who like animals because I just don’t. Again, it’s not that I even dislike them, per se, it’s just that, given the choice, I prefer not to have them around.

    Sorry.

  8. I hear you. I hope you don’t end up with a gerbil or any other kind of pet. It’s hard to understand why those that really want a pet are usually the same ones who are dedicated to leaving it in someone else’s care. :) Good post.

  9. Karen, I read your post with great interest. In fact, you have inspired me to write a post in response to yours. So check my site later!

  10. What a shame for both you and your husband. How does one “despise” any animal? We have 3 cats. They have unique personalities, but we still enjoy them. As for dogs, they are all different too. Both cats and dogs have breeds that are different. However you shouldn’t get ANY animal.

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