We're thinking about being parents again. That is, to a pet! Parenting a pet is all new to me. You see, I was raised in a pet free house. Growing up, my pet exposure was limited to the occasional sleep over with my pet owning friends. I really didn't think much about pets until I married Chris. Chris's parents are and have always been dog owners. As such, Chris loves dogs! I believe he always anticipated a dog would be bundled into the package with a wife and kids.
The dog discussion has been sidelined the last several years with the fact that we've been adding a new kid every other year. We've been so busy with babies that pets were seldom discussed and never seriously.
Then came Caleb. Caleb loves all pets, but he's especially passionate about reptiles (much to my disdain). Ever since he was 18 months, he's adored lizards. In fact, as a toddler he use to request the song, "Lizard Blues" be played on repeat for hours. Although Caleb is partial to lizards, he does love dogs too. In fact right now we have the perfect relationship with our neighbor's dog. We're like grandparents. The boys can play with the dog for hours but then return it and leave all the actual maintenance and care to the dog's owners.
I've always thought Caleb's adoration for animals was nice, but I've maintained the attitude he can read about them and not actually own one. Then came his Asperger's diagnosis. I've read the research: Asperger's kids do well with animals. Animals provide them comfort and assist in all sorts of ways. I could feel my opinion start to shift.
A few weeks ago we visited the Humane Society to check out the dogs. The boys loved them all but especially fell in love with an 100 pound Saint Bernard. My first thought was our poor carpets! Haven't they been through enough! I guess I was imaging we'd adopt a dog more the size of a chihuahua. A compromise could not be reached, so we walked out of the shelter empty handed.
Today I took the boy to the pet store. This time we were checking out the reptiles. Of course, Caleb was in heaven. He fell in love with each and every one. I think he promised me just about everything if he could walk out of that store with just one of those reptiles. This time I was envisioning how many reptiles would get lost within our house. Where would they end up? Most likely my bed! Again, we walked out of the store empty handed with the promise to engage in more serious discussions about pets when Dad was present.
As you may have gathered, I'm not thrilled about being a pet owner. Pets seem like a lot of work. But, they might be a really good thing for the boys, especially Caleb. I guess we've all done things as a parent for our kids that we don't really want to do. How many of you have sat in the pouring rain and freezing cold to watch a child play a sport? How many of you have feigned an interest in something your child has a passion for (Transformers, Dinosaurs, Barbies, or whatever)?
We may soon be pet owners. I'll do it for the boys, unless it involves a snake!