Question: Did you have pets at your house? What ages were your kids? What good/bad things do you think came out of having pets, and what type of pets do you recommend?
Most of the people who answered did have pets, at least off and on. Two mentioned "The Dog Whisperer" as someone who teaches great principles about training dogs.
Karen (and Lance)
We had a dog, when the children were old enough, about 6 years old, to take care of it. Dogs are so loyal, but need to be trained to mind. There are so many people out there on the internet and the tv with good ideas on how to do this. My best recommendation is "The Dog Whisperer". This man has a few pit bulls and some other dogs that he has "rehabilitated" to be good companions. He is amazing. If you don't train the dog the dog trains you. So many people think the little dog is like a little baby. They are old enough to learn many things that make them lovable to you and your guests. There are some dvds that he has made and it would behoove anyone to watch them or get his show on the National Geographic channel. Dogs can be a real pain if they are not taught how to behave. I have never see him ever yell or hit the dog.
We weren't able to use these dvds as they weren't available when our children were growing up in our home. It would have been a lot easier if we could have had this example. We did pretty well as our dog was small, like a large Chihuahua. She was a good little dog and the children had fun with her. We had puppies from her and that was a fun time. We gave them away the first time and then we sold them the second time. That was the last time she had puppies. There is always the threat of male dogs coming to the yard when the female is in heat and sometimes she was hurt by them. So we guess that spaying and neutering them is the best. Or having a more controlled place where a person could breed them according to the law. Best wishes in your pet gathering.
Mary (and Robert)
We always had a pet or two it seems. Usually cat and dog and never exclusively an indoor pet. By that I mean that they did their business outside. The pets were usually for a specific child who was interested at the time but everyone took their turns at caring for the animals. We also had a few fish and a hamster or two. They didn't seem to last long.
I see no negatives in having a pet. I am always surprised at how negative my children are now as parents about having animals. The only one who does is our daughter. The boys all say they won't let their kids have a dog or cat. (I think they are being selfish but no one asked my opinion.)
I like small dogs that I feel I can control. But I love my daughter's big, big dog. You need to find the right animal for you. Do some research and visit friends who have animals. If you are getting a dog, I recommend watching and reading "The Dog Whisperer" by Caesar Millan. He talks about the energy level of different animals and help you determine what is right for you. He also gives great advice on what needs to be done to make the dog's life a happy one.
Marsha (and Richard)
We are not really pet people but we did have some dogs. Our favorite by far was a little black poodle. We needed a dog that did not shed because of allergies and just preferences. I preferred a dog that we could have in the house successfully since I felt the outside dogs didn’t contribute much to the family and were just extra work.
We bought Char from a small family as a one-year-old. She was smart and obedient and we loved her a lot. It was comfortable having her in the house. She was clean and obedient and loving and was a great pet for all of us. She gave more than she took in time and attention. No matter how much you think your children will learn responsibility by taking care of a pet….they don’t do it! I took full responsibility for her because I could not let her be neglected. It was important to me to see that her needs were met. When a child cried, she would cry along with them. She did bark when someone came to the door, until we answered the door but I didn’t mind that. I knew that if anyone came into our yard at night we would know about it. It was just enough for us to feel her protection but not enough to be annoying to others or us. It was fun to get her groomed or even groom her myself. We all really enjoyed her. She was an asset, even with a large family.
Our first dog was an Australian Shepherd and we had to give her back because she “hearded” our small children. She wouldn’t let them play freely in the yard. She was overpowering to them. They were still too young for a dog. We had 3 other dogs. One was a little poodle that was hit by a car within the first few months. One dog was a Cocker Spaniel given to our daughter as a Christmas gift. We bred her a few times and really enjoyed watching the whole process and having the puppies. We were able to sell them, which helped with the expense of keeping a dog. The outside dogs had lots of trouble with ticks because of our irrigation and we eventually gave them to more suitable families.
If a dog is smart, can learn to be obedient and is trained he can add value to a family. If not, he is a burden. We enjoyed a couple of rabbits at some point but they either escaped or died. We generally did not include pets in the mix. If our family had been smaller, we probably would have made the effort to provide a dog for them. I believe age 8 is a good time to introduce a pet. Just be sure it fits your family age and interest. We preferred a pet we could cuddle on our laps and have in the house that we could keep clean and did not shed.
Danielle (and Jake)
We had only one furry animal, a rabbit out back in a hutch. I was into children, not animals. I did not like the $ money to feed them and care for them. I loved a clean, odor free house, (not that pets prevent that, but they make it harder). We had an occasional gold fish and a hermit crab (once). I have told all of my children they can have any pet they want when they have a house of their own. So far, none of my children have pets. Am I a bad person? I don’t think so.
Rachel and Bennett
No pets at our house!
Cynthia (and Brad)
Yes, we had a dog. The kids really enjoyed it. Ages 12, 10, 6, and 4. I think any pet that the child is interested in, and will take care of, is appropriate. Even gerbils, snakes, etc. if the child is really interested in them. Teaches responsibility. My granddaughter bawled her head off when her pet fish died. I think even a burial ceremony etc. helps the child understand that God has created lots of different living things to make the world a better and more interesting place. I don't know about mosquitoes, however. ha ha.
Next week's question: How did you answer your kids’ questions about things that seem to challenge faith, such as evolution?