When our son turned 7, he asked for a pet fish. One that would stay in his room and provide him some comfort when he might feel scared at night. While we weren’t quite sold on the idea, we figured it was better than another toy.
So, we adopted a fish.
A beta, also known as a fighting fish, which clearly warranted the name “Terminator.” Terminator Julian, to be exact, because what fish doesn’t want to share it’s middle name with it’s dad? 😉 We adopted “Term” (pets need a good nickname) from a friend whose daughter does fish rescue. Yes, that’s right, fish rescue. She buys fish that look like they need extra care and attention, and cares for them until they are ready to be adopted out. Awesome idea from a compassionate young lady!
But I digress.
You see, owning a pet has been one of the best adventures in our family. And it doesn’t just stop with Terminator. We also have two rescue dogs that are part of our family. Paws, 2, and Tchoupitoulas, 8, both pictured below, make every day better.
I know the responsibility of owning a pet can be an overwhelming addition for some families, but what you gain is far greater.
Our son cares for his fish, outside of cleaning the bowl which we do once every three months or so. Minimal care, but lots of comfort and conversation. Our son always brings his friends to his room to meet his fish, and often time, we will hear him talking to his fish in his room.
As for big sis, Tchoup, and lil bro, Paws, they have helped us to teach our son about taking others into consideration and the responsibility of feeding, cleaning up waste, pet safety (no, you can’t share your chocolate with the dogs) and bathing. Our son watches how we interact with the dogs, and learns compassion, love and selflessness by example. Our son often goes to vet appointments with us, and learns about heart-worm prevention, and asks the vet questions about animal care.
Adding a pet to your family can be as low maintenance as a fish, or as time consuming as a herd of cattle. (I have no experience with a herd of cattle, but you get the point). I recommend something you know you have time for, but also something your family members can help tend to. Puppies are hard work, but an older dog might just be the perfect fit.