Monday, February 22, 2010

We're getting a pet! (and how to chose one for your family)

Well, we have come to the end of a long road. We’ve been debating what would be a good pet for us.

I am vehemently opposed to dogs, cats and rats in my house. I don’t like the hair of dogs and cats and any thing that reminds me of a mouse, rat or squirrel is OUT.

But I did want an animal that my daughter could pet and play with, so where do we go?

She has a fish and a 2.5 gallon tank. That’s plenty for us. But fish are only for watching and she is not old enough to feed the fish herself.

So, I began looking at reptiles. After my own process of elimination, I settled on turtles and tortoises. Through research I learned that turtles are quite affordable at around $20-$30 each. But I also learned that they should not be handled, except during the cleaning of their tanks. Their land and water habitat is a breeding ground for salmonella. Uh…NOPE!

Then I found the tortoise. The cost alone made me think no…the animal alone costs around $110-$140. Then the container, food, initial vet exam….whew! However, as I read on, this seemed like the perfect pet.

First they live to be 50 years old. The fun part is that they need exercise 3-4 times per week so she (meaning me ;o) can take him out and let him walk around the house under close supervision. He eats green leafy vegetables, just like we do. He needs UV light which means that with a proper container she can take him outside when she goes outside to play. And there are some very elaborate set ups that she and her father can create to give him a great home. My husband was a college and high school carpentry instructor so he knows how to teach using the content areas of geometry, basic math and vocabulary. We could work on a pot garden to grow food for ourselves and food specifically for the tortoise that needs extra calcium. This has yearly science and wood shop lesson written all over it!

So, I think we found our pet. Now we wait it could take 1 week to 4 months before on is available from our preferred supplier.

Here are my tips for selecting a pet.

1. Do research on what your landlord allows if you rent.
2. Look at your flooring and find a pet that is compatible with your carpet or hardwood floors.
3. Once you have narrowed your search to a type of pet such as dog, cat, reptile, fish then begin looking at initial cost and the cost of maintenance.
4. Once your final decision is made, find a vet FIRST. For example, all vets don’t see all animals. We had to find one that specialized in wild and exotic pets. Also, ask for their advice on where to buy the animal from. The always have a favorite pet store or local breeder.
5. Don’t forget to check the local humane society before buying. They even rescue small furry pets and reptiles. You may be able to save an animal and some dollars.
6. DO NOT give any money as a deposit to reserve and animal until your child has the chance to visit with one, even if its not the one you eventually buy. Make sure they are comfortable handling it and are not afraid.
7. Be certain that the seller has a reasonable return policy. 7 days may not be enough time for you. Especially if you want to have it examined by the vet. And some animals should not be handled for the first 3-4 days as they adapt to the new environment.

I'll post pics when we finally get ours!


Don said...

I used to have a pit bull dog as a pet, two really, before I ended up giving both dogs away. Had to. The barking was unbearable at times.

We've also had fishes. This, before I got tired of cleaning the tank every weekend and dropped it on purpose (on the concrete garage floor) one beautiful Saturday morning. LOL!

Anyways I think a tortoise is a great idea. Everything from his age to your husband's carpentry skills to being able to grow food is masterful.

Girl of a thousand names, including Sister P said...

Hey Don!
My husband is a dog FANATIC. I hope to hold him off a few more years until we can have a yard and running space for them. I don't like to see animals caged unless you can give them the space to roam that they need.

I agree that fish are high maintenance. Some well meaning friend gave my daughter this fish tank and I hope it doesn't break while we're remodeling her classroom *wink, wink*

Aminah Hanan said...

Tortoises are awesome. They can grow to be pretty big. When I was young we use to go to Gulf Shores & ride on their backs. Went back as an adult and it didb't seem like a good idea. Children truly are fearless :)

Your daughter will enjoy this pet. Keep us posted with pics. What's she going to name it?

Don said...

Too funny @ and I hope it doesn't break while we're remodeling her classroom *wink, wink*

I remember your emails would always return to my inbox, so I will leave my email address in response to your comment on my blog:

My post was a little too much? LOL.