Friday, January 19, 2007

Pet Sounds

I was on the phone with my grandmother last week, and out of the blue she said, "You need to get Mr. Personality a pet." Long silence. "Maybe a fish."

My family was not one for pets. I blame my mom. My dad loves dogs and has one now that we have moved out of the house, but growing up we didn't have any pets. My mom thinks that they cramp her style.

We did have a cat, sort of, for a little while. Well, let's just say that my sister started feeding a stray cat who happened to be starving and pregnant. Voila, instant pet, at least for a year or so. In fact, I don't even remember the cat's name. I think it was French and pretentious. But that definitely sounds like something my sister would do- give a cat a pretentious Gallic moniker.

I remember watching the cat birth her kittens underneath one of the bushes by our back door. For some reason though, the cat was considered my sister's cat, and I didn't have much to do with her. Not that I don't like cats, I'm fine with them. I think I was just too young to really care, and my sister was a bit possessive. We got stuck with some kittens for a bit, but managed to give them all away, the litter was not a large one.

Much to my mother's joy, the cat left after a while, that was the last time we ever had anything even close to a psuedo-pet. I don't count the goldfish won at the school fair, which sometimes never even survived being carried around in a plastic baggie for the few hours before we left. And for the ones who did manage to make it past the trip home, their presence was always brief. They certainly never lasted long enough to warrant a name. After the first couple of deaths, we learned our lesson about getting attatched too quickly. Both my grandmothers had dogs, so perhaps my mom considered that to be satisfactory contact with the domesticated animal contingent.

I pondered for a moment about what my grandmother had said. Mr. Personality is so far an only child, but I don't know if four is still too young for a pet. I mean, let's face it, there is no way I could expect him to take care of the pet. Not if I wanted it to live very long, anyway.

I like animals, it isn't that. We have a small house, and I wonder if a pet would make it feel smaller. I think I would prefer a dog to a cat, and we certainly don't have an appropriate place for a cat box. Our floor plan is pretty open and flowy. There isn't anywhere a cat box could go and be discreet. Which is what I believe cat boxes should be the essence of. Discreetness, that is.

On the other hand, I don't really look forward to picking up the dog poop and all that. Since goodness knows when real estate prices will fall enough for us to move, we would have to have a small dog. And I confess a bit of a prejudice against small dogs, since they tend to be very yappy. But the bigger the dog, the bigger the poop. I'm sure you see my conundrum.

Hmmmm, goldfish are actually sounding pretty good right now.

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