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Confessions of a Busy Mom Who Became an Independent Novelist

The Slippery Slope of Pet Ownership (Or, An Awful Lot Of Trouble For Something That Will Be Flushed Someday)

We are not pet people. When my husband and I got married it didn’t even come up that we would ever be pet people. We like our animals on our plates next to the mashed potatoes and gravy, thank you very much. Even growing up, I had a dog, but I was ambivalent toward it and it turned out that my chronic respiratory problems were due to the stupid dog sleeping under my bed. When I went away to college, I never had trouble breathing again. Don’t even get my husband started if you complain about how you spent $4k for a surgery for your shitzu. We ARE NOT animal people. I personally think that the reason God created Facebook is to that I can take the numerous statuses about dogs vomiting up house slippers and allow me to be smug.

As the children came along, we never, ever saw the need for a cat or a dog or (shudder) a rodent in a cage — simply because I had these very convenient allergies and really, who wants to clean up more poop? Not me. I brainwashed my children in this matter, “Do you see that woman on the sidewalk with the dog? Do you KNOW what’s in that plastic bag she’s holding? If you had a dog, you would have to do that twice a day, regardless of the weather. Every. Single. Day.” They all uttered a unified “EWWWW GROSS!” and I felt my evil plan was working. If by some chance one of them would ask, which has happened maybe twice in 15 years, “can’t we get a puppy someday?” I’d say, “No. But how about a baby sister?” My thought is that I would be happy to wipe the butt of someone for two-ish years if there was a chance that they would someday take care of me when I am old and perhaps even return the favor.

But. Then. Miranda grew up. She is our second oldest daughter. She is 13. She is unbelievably mature and responsible. She has a fondness for living things. And I knew, that a pet would be well loved  for under her care. We broke down and bought a beta fish for her birthday.

Picture 15

This is Chico Gandalf Sparta Sampson T. Fish. Please do not tap on the glass.

My husband said, “This is a slippery slope.” He wasn’t kiddin’. We had to buy a tank. We had to buy gravel. We had to buy a fake pink plant because it matched the gravel better than the dumb red one that came with the beta starter kit. We had to buy food. (Oh great. Another mouth to feed.) THEN we realized that our house in winter is not really a suitable environment for a tropical fish. And poor Chico was a little too still and lifeless. So we had to buy a thermometer and a heating thingy to keep Chico’s water all toasty. Now that we have this stuff for our pet, he is, as all five of children have been saying, the most fabulous fish in the world. I suppose if I were swishy, had purple plumage and hung out next to a fake pink plant all day, I’d be fabulous too.

So, there is an creature living in my house that will not grow up someday to organize my finances when I am too feeble to do it myself. If I start mentioning his body fluids on Facebook, someone, please, stage an intervention.

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2 Responses to “The Slippery Slope of Pet Ownership (Or, An Awful Lot Of Trouble For Something That Will Be Flushed Someday)”


  1. I so love the fact that we have one thing not in common Katharine, but your honesty makes me giggle so much x.


  2. My 19 month old is obssessed with dogs. One of her first words was “woof woof.” Everyone keeps telling me we have to get her a dog. I reply that I am intimately involved with the poop of 5 living creatures already (including myself in that total), and I’m not about to walk an animal that will sleep on my bed, fill my house with fur, destroy my floors with his claws, and require me to PICK UP his poop. At least cats have the dignity to use indoor facilities. In fact, I have declared that we can have NO MORE PETS for at least 10 years. That gives the cats some time to die off. I feel your pain!

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