Wednesday, May 15, 2013

No Pets Allowed

There are no pets in this house.

Not because we are allergic, or because we are between pets, or because we live in a place where they don’t allow pets.

We don’t have pets because I don’t like keeping pets.

And because my job is managing this house and the lives of the people who live in this house, I choose for our family not to have pets.  The three animals I take care of are enough work, thank you very much.

Now, look.  I am not anti-animal.  Not really, anyway.  I don’t kick cats off of my front porch and I don’t set traps for rabbits.  We feed squirrels, if you want to know the truth.  But I’m not posting pictures of abused dogs and cats online and demanding justice and adoptive homes for them, and I’m not taking in strays I see wandering the neighborhood.

I will love your dog at your house, pet your cat and will even allow him to crawl into my lap.  There’s something about the warmth of a pet who settles next to you, totally trusting and not caring that you are anything other than a comfy cushion to perch upon.

But please know that I will not pet-sit for you.  At my house, anyway.

We’ve had pets.  We had a dog for eight years who we had to put down when she got sick.  It broke my heart into pieces to make and carry out that decision.  A piece of me still nurses that terrible experience, the decision to end her life.  That was seven years ago.

We’ve had fish since then.  Hermit crabs.  A kitten my father rescued and we raised for six months.

These relationships ended in death, with the exception of the cat.  All the goodbyes were hard in different ways.  The fish died ungracefully (floating sideways in a bowl with no warning, only to be scooped out and unceremoniously flushed), the hermit crabs died mysteriously (there were two, and what happened to the big one’s claw?), the cat was exiled (we received mildly threatening anonymous mail after he was spotted in several of our neighbors’ homes who employed doggie-doors), and the dog’s death was tragic, premature, unfair.

Our children still ask for a pet.  Any pet.  They promise to take care of it.  I reply that we can get a pet when daddy quits his job and I find one to support us.  They can all share the pet-keeping chores while I work sixty-plus hours a week.  They will be in charge of the house cleaning, vet appointments, kenneling when we go on vacation, walking, poop-scooping, bathing, feeding, and shampooing of carpets when the pet has an accident.  Their pleas for getting a pet eventually cease.

They rattle off the kinds of exotic and domesticated pets they will keep when they live on their own.  They have given them all names. I remind them that I won’t pet-sit.

They continue to be disappointed.  I frown at my husband when he joins my children’s pleas for a pet.  I am the bad guy, the ogre who disapproves of their frivolity, the one who keeps hostage the happiness that will only come from owning a pet.

I am strong, and we are still pet-free.

But the warmth and comfort of a dog, the deadpan silliness of a cat, the gleeful chirp of a bird, the delicate beauty of a fish as it glides through the water – I still enjoy it.

At your house.


This post inspired by:

Mama Kat's Writing Workshop

Prompt #1: Introduce a pet.


  1. In case you change your mind about pets, I have 3 I would gladly give up to you at no cost. 2 dogs are house trained and the bird has a very large cage which keeps her from squawking all day. I'll even pay for their vet bills....please help me....please...please. If not, will you take a 39 year old Nicaraguan pure breed?

    1. Ha ha Jose. No to the dogs and the birds - we will continue to enjoy them at your house. As for you, it depends how much you shed, and if you know how to clean up after yourself.

  2. I am cat sitting this week for a friend of a friend. I have two at home - mine and a step-cat - yet other people's pets are always a joy.

    I know many people who lead happy pet-free lives. It's not a life I would choose for myself, but I'm sure people think the same thing about my kid-free life.

    Enjoy your fur free existence!

    1. Thank you! I do! My family, on the other hand...

  3. Awww your dog is so cute!
    I don't have a pet right now too but I hope one day we could have one. God knows my boy been asking for it lol.

    1. Thanks, she was cute. She was our first baby.

  4. So you'll come to my house and clean up after the Three Rotten Cats???? Deal.

    Have to say I was always a no-pet house supporter. Then the Cats happened. I am still a no-pet house supporter. :)

    But there is something to be said for a warm cat butt on your cold toes in late January.

    1. I would maybe rent out a cat if I could just for that exact reason. But hubs is allergic, so no cats for me. :(

  5. The story about Bailey made me cry all over again and then my reply to that story about Daisy actually brought out some sobs :( I don't know if we'll have another pet after these two are gone. Their leaving is too sad :(

  6. We have a dominant male hunting dog puppy that destroys everything and needs to run for three hours a day in a wooded area and bites people that we'd be willing to part with for a small sum.

    1. Aaaaaghh!! NO.

      Although, does he know how to clean up after himself? Eating his own poop doesn't count.

  7. Oh Bailey ....she inspired me to get my own dog...loved her :)