Recently, Smartypants and I randomly got on the topic of having a pet. We used to have a dog before the kids. She was a quirky but wonderful mixed lab, but getting on in age. Her hip caused her great pain and she could barely go for much of a walk anymore. We eventually made the hard decision of bringing her to the shelter and putting her to sleep.
Smartypant’s eyes were red with tears that day. Funny thing, I don’t recall him shedding nary a tear on our wedding day.
So now we have kids, but no pets. Thankfully, they haven’t asked for a pet. Probably because they don’t realize it’s a possibility. Nevertheless, I do wonder if we should get a pet one day. I loved growing up with two dogs. But then again, my parents did all the poop-scooping.
I can’t deal with any more poop right now. There are enough poop fiascos as it is with two toddlers. While reading the book Everyone Poops to my kids, I am reminded that, indeed, “All animals eat, so everyone poops.”
Smartypants and I have gone down the list of possible pet animals.
Dogs…. my favorite kind of pet, but too much work.
Cats…. I’m allergic.
Mice…. I don’t like mice.
Hamsters or Guinea Pigs…. they can bite.
Rabbits…. they chew on stuff and they’re a bit stinky.
Birds…. too loud.
Snakes…. definitely not.
Lizards…. definitely not.
Turtles…. not much movement, and I don’t like that they carry Salmonella.
Frogs…. I don’t like that they leap, and they also carry Salmonella.
Pigs…. too heavy.
Goats…. we don’t have grass.
Fish…. don’t want to deal with an aquarium.
Meerkats…. tunnels would destroy my backyard.
Llamas…. too big, and they need the company of other llamas.
Dinosaurs (my son’s favorite animal lately)…. can’t find one.
In addition to the above is the overarching truth that any animal would be yet another source of poop to clean. The conclusion of our discussion: I am and will be the main deterrent to our family getting a pet.
How ironic, then, that I ended up getting a pet for my kids after all. Two of them, in fact.
Meet Eenie and Meenie.
They are tobacco hornworms, discovered on my bell pepper plants in the backyard one sunny day. Plopped into the biggest jar we could find and covered with some leftover window screen that Smartypants dug up from the garage.
They have ravenous appetites. This jar was full of leaves in the morning. Once I returned at the end of the day, only two bare stems were left. Obviously all those leaves have been compacted into all those little pellets at the bottom of the jar.
Eenie and Meenie indeed poop, but caterpillar poop is very small, dry, and without odor. And they only need to eat leaves. And they grow really fast, so the kids are amazed by the daily changes they witness. In less than a week, I think they have tripled in size.
So I’ve found the perfect pet for us after all. Caterpillars. At least for now. I still hope that we can have something more cuddly one day. For now, I’m happy with caterpillars.