18 August 2011

Is He Old Enough For A Pet?

Jaron and Thor
the Sugar Glider
Aedyn & Jaron love animals. We've had a few, but within the next few weeks will be an animal free household for the first time in...well, ever. When we rescued the baby Chimney Swift from our fireplace yesterday Aedyn asked to hug and kiss it. He doesn't quite get the birds and fish are not the most cuddly of pets, both boys are entranced by my parent's Sugar Gliders too, but I'm not ready to take on an exotic pet responsibility by a long shot!

I'm an animal lover, Jake is not. Actually, he's the type who doesn't even understand how a human can get emotionally attached to "just an animal." This has often been a point of contention and frustration, even though he does make an effort to see where I (and the majority of the world) am coming from.

When he married me I came with my fur-baby, a Pomeranian named Foxie, and my cat, Risa. Shortly thereafter we added two Beta Fish into the mix. Cerberus, or Cerb, is our 18 month old German Shepherd mix and the final animal resident in our house, we got him as a security measure.

Of all of them Foxie was the only one who was truly my baby, I got her in highschool and had her for 10 years. My parents let me get her in hope that I'd get over Jake, who'd just broken my heart for the first time (it's ok, it all turned out fine in the end). Needless to say she and I bonded and she was my best friend. She'd had some issues and been misdiagnosed as epileptic. We didn' find out until it was too late that she had very treatable Adkins Disease. I lost her in March of 2011. Aedyn recognizes her picture, Jaron never knew her.

Risa, I got while I lived in Mexico, I didn't want to live alone and I couldn't bring Foxie down. She made the 14 hours of flight and 2 week car trip to Jake's house to stay with him until we got married. That started their bad relationship. Recently they finally came to peaceful tolerance when we turned her into an outdoor/indoor cat instead of just indoor. It was great. I gave her to a young 20-something cat-lover a few weeks ago. I miss her, but she really was just a pet to me and I know she's getting alot more pampering and attention where she is now. We're moving into an apartment and didn't think we'd be able to afford the fees. Aedyn still asks on occasion where she is, but he hasn't been terribly bothered. She was tolerant of the boys, but not their best friend.

The fish were Aedyn's and he loved watching them and saying hi. Unfortunately, they were left in the living room last winter. It got down to 29F one night, and we don't have heat anywhere but the bedrooms. The fish are tropical and supposed to remain at about 75F. Oops. Needless to say they didn't make it. Aedyn asked about them for awhile, but hasn't mentioned them in months.

We're looking for a new home for Cerb (if you're local and know someone who wants him, please let me know!) because last time I checked, 60lb dogs were not the best apartment companions for a household that already includes 2 rambunctious boys. He'll be missed because he's a very sweet dog, but I'll be happy when he actually has space to run and someone to give him all the attention that he deserves. He's an outdoor dog, and with our yard, or lack thereof, we don't really get to play with him much, so there's not a whole lot of attachment there.

So. A pet for the boys. That means a small(ish) dog. Ideally, a Shiba Inu. But as I don't know any casual breeders and can't even find a pro breeder locally I doubt that will happen. I've thought and am still thinking about the animal shelter. But I REFUSE to bring an adult dog home when I don't personally know his former family. Young children + dog of uncertain background = not safe. I've considered looking for a puppy, which may happen, but I'm very scared that the tiny puppy will have some hidden elephant in him and will grow far past what anyone will guess. But I haven't totally crossed it off the list. Of course, I'm always open to another pomeranian.

Oh, FYI, Jake's training for a promotion, so the pet fees aren't such a worry anymore.

If we don't get a dog soon, then it's going to be awhile. I want the pup fully house trained and taught manners before Jaron is ready to start potty training. I already tried keeping track of two young creatures who were learning where to go potty at the same time (Aedyn & Cerb). Not doing it again, Lord willing!

I'm thinking Christmas or Aedyn's birthday in February might be good. But I don't know. Am I crazy to want, much less, get a puppy while the boys are still so young? Am I just adding to my stress and work load, or is there payoff? I really would like some company when Jake's working late and the boys are in bed. I like the security of having a dog in the house, even if it's barely big enough to drop-kick.

What do you think? Am I crazy? Do you have any experience or advice on this one?

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