#109: The Secret Life Of Pets

#109: The Secret Life Of Pets
3 minutes to read

My eldest daughter has a love/hate relationship with pets. We had a pet once, who she hated, and now we don’t have him any more, he’s like the best friend she ever had in the world. She mists up when she talks about him, which makes ME mist up because I quite miss him too actually. 

He was a cat, but she’s fickle and quickly started asking for a dog instead, following a year long obsession with Skye from Paw Patrol. Not a lovely old rescue dog, like I’d be quite up for, but a puppy. A puppy, which would ultimately probably be worse to manage than her and her sister put together. This is why I slowly talked her into getting a pet fish instead of a puppy.

Thank the heavens that kids are suggestible, because it really didn’t take too much effort on my part to convince her that a fish was the way to go. Like, a million times cheaper and easier to project manage than a puppy.

Win: Less maintenance…

You may think that a fish needs a crap ton of looking after. After all, you do have to feed the fish, clean the filters, clean the tank, make sure it has adequate lighting, and a few other things too. It is a live animal of course, let’s not be neglectful. However, all things said and done, the entirety of maintaining a pet fish takes up a little over an hour or two per week, which is hardly any time at all. On the other hand, a dog needs walking, grooming, feeding, and money. Stacks and stacks of money.

Money aside, my child would be hideous at the rest of it. Would she be up for walking a dog in the middle of winter? Would she hell. Would she help to toilet train it? No. Would she moan because the dog had been at her toys? Probably. Taking care of the fish is much easier and simpler than caring for a dog, which is fine because I’m always busy, and frankly if it’s her pet then she can do it herself.

Win: Cheap as (fish and) chips…

Pricing is also another key plus in the world of fish. I’ve had my days of paying £15 a month for pet insurance and special toothpaste, and that’s after forking out for the actual animal in the first place. All things considered, at least fish are cheap, and so are the things you need for maintenance. A small fish and all of the equipment included can be picked up for around £50, and once you’ve dabbled in the low-key end you might fancy upscaling into tropical fish with a bit of extra investment. You do need specialist equipment for this, like water treatments and protein skimmers which you can read about here .

Win: Self-exercising…

I love exercise. In that respect, a dog would be perfect for me as I’d be out with it all the bloody time. However, realistically we have too much going on to be able to factor in twice daily walks. Like I said, nice enough in the summer but god awful in the winter.

Win: No stained carpets…

Yeah, I deal with poo and wee quite enough in my house, thanks, and that’s just my husband when he’s drunk. I jest, of course. But I’ve been there, kneeling on the carpet with some organic plant derived cleaning spray and a stack of wet wipes, while one of my children manages to wipe poo not only up her own back, but mine too.

A dog would be no different, especially a puppy. I know you still have to clean a fish tank for stringy poo and other detritus, but it’s not half as bad as carpet fails.

Win: It’s the easy route…

Oh, life is too hard and too complicated. The kid wants a pet, give her an easy pet. Fish dies, buy another one. A puppy is for life, after all, not just for summer…

-SJW May 2017

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