When you have kids, the question always comes up, “Can we get a dog/cat/fish/mouse/hermit crab?”

And your first reaction will always be “Nooooo! I have enough to do as it is”.

Just like you I initially said no, then thought back to my childhood when I was not allowed to have any pets for all sorts of reasons (don’t get me started). So the first thing I did when I moved to Australia and had a stable home and job was to get a dog! Somehow the RSPCA also conned me into taking a cat home. It was free, how could I refuse…

There ensued a series of adoptions over the years, and a few purchases. But then the man of the house decided cats were a no-no (and he had a point as we lived on acreage surrounded by wildlife). So my little one initially grew up with just a dog and a few fish.

When his dad left he also took the dog with him as we were moving to suburbia.

So the first thing we did after we moved: back to the RSPCA to get (you guessed it) a cat. And for good measure we got him a friend, so somehow here I am supporting two very fat cats.

They have cost me a fair penny over the years but the joy and cuddles they have given us make it all worthwhile. Then as my son got older, I let myself be convinced he absolutely had to have hermit crabs, then fish, then mice, though this was over a period of several years. This was all in stead of a dog. And the idea was that it would be good for Junior to learn responsibility through caring for a pet (that one didn’t work at all).

I kept saying no to the dog, thinking expenses, walks, vet trips. We even fostered dogs for a not-for-profit, beautiful assistance pups we had to give back after 10 months.

But of course I eventually weakened: we got an RSPCA mutt a few months ago. He is only a tiny thing and cheap to feed, but the positives for our family cannot be measured. Love and licks aplenty, and my son finally has a reason to go for a walk in the morning. And when he goes through a difficult patch, first thing he does is tell the dog and have a cuddle. Best decision we ever made!

The more I know about people, the more I love my dog.

Mark Twain

Happy Parenting!

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