I always begged my parents for a puppy when I was little. I did get one in the end, but along the way I incurred an interesting bill of suicidal hamsters, a canary, some fish and a nomadic cat that one day chose to be free (or so I like to portray his scenario). Years later, I’m guessing that through all these creatures my parents were actually experimenting with making me care for smaller animals before getting me a dog. Of all breeds, I remember begging my dad for a Yorkshire Terrier; I always had the idea that the smaller the dog I begged for the greater the chance of getting one was. My dad replied, ‘if I get you a dog, it’ll have to be of a breed we won’t be stepping on my accident all the time.’ My first Polish Sheepdog arrived a few weeks later wrapped up in a shirt and ready to take over the world. It was one of those dogs that consist 90% hair and 10% actual dog.
Since leaving home, I’ve gone through fits of wanting to have a pet again, first a dog, then a cat, subsequently a sugar glide (2 actually) and finally today, the consideration hit the mini-pig (omg, so cute!). No, I won’t be getting one, but I think it’s quite amusing how many small pets are entering the market these days. Causing less trouble for parents and less guilt-inducing for those with smaller flats, small pets might seem like the right solution if one has to have one. But does one really ever have to have a pet? By saying ‘pet’ I exclude dogs used in drug detection or for the blind or any other animals serving a function in the society. For some, businesses like FlexPetz seemed to provide a solution. But perhaps instead of saying ‘no, you can’t have one’ or ‘you wouldn’t take care of it properly’, kids should also be encouraged to consider whether the pets themselves would be happy rather than perpetually bored (and lonely) with the exception of playtime. Considering the numbers of pets abandoned every year, the piles of food that needs to be bought for them over the years and effectively providing support for an entire industry that breeds a lot of unhappy animals, really, do think twice.
[Image courtesy of mcglinch]