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Passing on Pets

The girls have been on me a lot lately about getting a family pet. Although the thought of having Fido or Ninja C. Kitty (see WritRams for more detail) traipsing through my house sounds like a wonderful idea, I just can’t bring myself to get the girls a new house pet.

Now, we did, in fact, have a dog a while back. We had a great little Miniature Schnauzer named Xavier. Unfortunately, Schnauzers like A LOT of attention. The role of a single parent trying to balance kids, a job and maintaining a house doesn’t really lend itself to being a good pet owner for a dog that wanted constant attention. Hence, Xavier found a new, loving home where he would get lots and lots of attention. 

Now, back to the story…

Being the over-achieving dad that I strive to be, I decided to do some investigating into what would be the “best family pet” for the kids. 


Okay, let’s start with a good, old-fashioned dog. Almost everyone has a story about a favorite Rover they had growing up. And everyone loves a cute dog, right? After all, dogs are “Man’s Best Friend”! 

When they are puppies, they are cute as a button. They are cuddly, playful, and just damn neat to be around. They also require housebreaking and weaning away from their mommy (i.e., crying all through the night). They are also prone to that nice doggie puke while you’re experimenting with the right kind of chow, in of need shots, have to be spade/neutered (gotta keep Bob Barker happy), need boarding while you’re gone and…on and on. (Sounds like paradise to me!)

Not to mention, when they get older and they’re chillin’ on the couch with you while you’re watching some movie, they give you a look like, “Are you serious? This movie is crap! The book was 10 times better!”

Oh, and trying to choose the right breed? Yappy dogs, lap dogs, shaggy dogs, Marmaduke style, Scooby Doo wanna-bees, Perkadoodles, Labradoodles, Doodledoodles…enough already!  I think I will pass on the canine companion.

How about a kitty cat? They are pretty self-sufficient. They don’t bark. They poop in a little box. Sounds pretty good to me. However, there is something about felines that has always freaked me out a little. They are sneaky. They saunter around the house. They seem like they are on the prowl waiting for Pixie and Dixie to come out of that little hole in the wall. They force you to pet them. And that little prrrrrrrrrrrrr noise? What’s up with that?!  I’m sure cats are wonderful pets…just not for our house.

I got it–FISH! How much easier could it get? Throw in some water, colored rocks, treasure chest that emits bubbles and a few Black Neon Tetras. Wahlaa! You have entertainment for hours!

But then there is the upkeep on the tank and choosing which fish get along with each other. You worry about them getting ‘ick’. You spend hours wondering if that plecostomus (sucker fish) is doing his job? Then there is the excitement level. They just SWIM.AROUND. Shoot, they probably talk to each other in their fish language:

“Hey look at us!  We’re swimming here! Hi castle! Hi diver guy with bubbles coming out your head. Hi creepy looking rock! Hey, nice dorsal fin Dorrie!”

You get the picture. Sorry Nemo, I don’t think you’ll find your underwater paradise in our house.


I decided to scour the internet to look for “less traditional” pets. I like to be unique. So why not have a unique pet?

First stop: a ferret. The girls actually had a pair of ferrets at their mom’s house a few years ago. They brought them over for a visit once. ONCE. Talk about nosy? Those overgrown rats were into everything downstairs. Then, you couldn’t find them.

“Oh, they like to hide!”

Really? A hiding pet that no one can find and emits an odor akin to a 1947 bottle of musk perfume my granny probably wore? I can’t think of a better way to spend $400 than on a pet that you can’t find. No thanks on the ferret.

How about a pot-belly pig? Been there, done that. It was circa 1994 when Luke Perry (90210 fame, ‘memba him?) made it cool to have a cute, prickly haired swine rooting through your living room. My buddies and I thought it would be a chick magnet to have one of these creatures to show off. Long story short, “Butkiss” (that’s what we named him) lasted a whole two days in our apartment. You haven’t smelled anything until you’ve gotten a whiff of dropping left by a pig that has eaten an entire bag of Doritos. (Trust me on this one.)  Sorry Porky, maybe another time.

Fainting goat? Hmmmm. Do I really want a pet that likes to stand on the roof of his little house then suddenly falls off; giving the impression he’s had one too many shots of tequila? Sure, I might not have to use my lawn mower any longer and the yard would be free of tin cans, but again, I think I will pass on Billy.

My favorite find on the internet was the notion of a miniature kangaroo as a pet. Supposedly, they are really clean and don’t require a lot. They are pretty maintenance free. But a kangaroo? Do you remember the Looney Tunes cartoons? Those things will knock the crap out you! I can find a better use of my time then getting my butt kicked by a pouch toting marsupial.

By now, I’m sure I have offended 93% of the readers who are avid pet lovers and pet owners. For that, I apologize. Before you burn me at the stake and use my ashes for your kitty litter (thus, getting the ULTIMATE revenge on me), know that I do enjoy dogs, cats, lizards, birds, llamas and more. Shoot, I still tear up when I hear the name Mindy, the wiener dog we had growing up who has passed on to doggie heaven.  But, for right now, a new family pet is just not in the cards.  Maybe one day when the girls are grown and gone and I am sad and alone, then I will invest in a dog. But the first time he gives me an odd look while I’m watching re-runs of Jersey Shore, he’s out the door.

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[author_info]About the Author

Robb J. is one of our regular Parenting and Man Cave contributors who is stuck somewhere in the middle of a paradigm shift and the status quo. He is a  41-year-old single dad who likes swimming in the deep end without the use of floaties. He raises two daughters–a teen and a preteen. He would appreciate a moment of silence for that. [/author_info][/author]

Stuck somewhere in the middle of a paradigm shift and the status quo, Robb J. is a 41-year-old, single dad who likes swimming in the deep end without the use of floaties. Born and raised in small community in central Indiana (and living in the fame and popularity shadow of brunette cheerleaders who were a year older), he lives his life with small town values, while never taking himself or life’s daily dilemmas too serious.

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