Parent vs. Parent: Pets -- No way!

When I was growing up, we generally had at least one dog. My mother, early on, bred, trained, and showed dachshunds. Later, we had a lovely little schipperke and some amazingly dumb borzois. After my mom passed away (who was extremely allergic), we had a wonderful cat that would sleep on my dad's head. Unfortunately, she passed away from cancer.

My sister, meanwhile, had a dog that she just couldn't seem to control. It was an australian sheepdog and had an instinctive need to herd things, mostly by nipping at their heels. Given the dearth of sheep in our neighborhood, she substituted the cable guy, people at the stable where she worked, and neighbors. When she took a taste of an elderly woman that worked for a neighbor, that neighbor told me "this is the sort of thing you hope for" and promptly contacted her lawyer. Rumour has it, she got $20k from my homeowner's insurance who then promptly dropped me like a hot potato.

That brings me to my number one reason we won't be having any pets: liability. In San Francisco, especially, there is one word that I'm sure must instill fear in every dog owner -- Whipple. In 2001, Diane Whipple was savagely killed by two large dogs owned by her neighbor. The sleazeballs who owned the dogs -- a pair of lawyers who had, just days before, adopted a member of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang serving a life sentence they claimed was the dogs' real owner -- got off with a much lighter sentence than they should have. They did, however, set a precedent that, in my opinion, makes it very dangerous to own even harmless dogs in San Francisco.

On top of that, pets are generally covered with hair -- until they shed it all over your clothes, bed, computers, and pretty much anywhere else they can get it. While they may not cause as much damage or generate as much filth as children, they still make a considerable mess. It's not something I'm willing to deal with.

There's more to it, also, than just cleaning up after them. Pets require a lot of effort -- walking, feeding, washing, and so on. And as anyone who's ever watched an afterschool special knows, kids start out full of good intentions but quickly lose interest in actually caring for their pets. It then falls to the hapless parents to take on the added task of taking care of the pet.

So, the only pets my kids will be getting, I think, will be a pet rock. Other than that, they're welcome to visit friends with pets as much as they like.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.