Better pets – Trees and Turtles

It always seems like a good idea to get a pet, especially during the holidays.  In fact, this is a terrible time for shelters, because in the next few weeks they are going to get flooded with puppies people shouldn’t have bought in the first place.  Maybe the only time worse than the holidays is the period immediately following the release of a Disney movie about dogs.  Weak-willed parents succumb to children’s whining and pick up a dalmatian from the nearest mall’s puppymill middleman.  It doesn’t take them long to realize what they’ve gotten in to.

If only people put the kind of thought that goes in to a car purchase into the decision to buy a dog.  But they don’t.  People don’t understand the importance of researching breeds and breeders, and consulting a knowledgeable professional before bring a pet into the house. And pets are terrible surprise gifts. Everyone in the house should be in on the decision to get a pet.  Everyone is going to have responsibilities.  Do not make deals with certain members of the house exempting them from responsibilities – it doesn’t work that way.  Especially in the case of a puppy, everyone in the house has an influence on training – good or bad.

The Pet Rock was in many ways the perfect pet – they don’t die, they’re virtually indestructible, and they require no care.  Turtles can live to be a couple of hundred years old, although I suspect that tends not to be the case in captivity.  I’ve recently read about some trees that are believed to have been living for several thousand years.  Now that’s my kind of pet.  Of course, I have the bonsai touch of death, so even that wouldn’t work for me. It’s true – if you get me a bonsai tree it will be dead within just weeks.

Some people think it’s good to get children pets so they can learn about life and death.  I think it’s a terrible set up.  I really don’t mean to make an argument against having pets, I’m just saying people should understand what they’re getting into.  It’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of money, it’s a large emotional investment, and it ends with death.

I guess that’s life.

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