It all started with his friend’s dad getting a small pup home for his friend to play with. This news came to me as a ‘for your information‘ initially, and from my side it ended with ‘how nice! Good to know’. But this was not to be the last of our conversation on the pet.
I would get an update on the dog everyday – what he ate, how he did potty, how they played ball-ball with him. Then came that moment I was dreading the most, and which I had anticipated would happen, as his fascination with his friend’s pet grew. He asked me, ‘Mamma can we get a dog too?’ The answer from my side was no, as I couldn’t see myself being able to take charge and responsibility of a dog at home. I sat and explained my reasons to him. What I promised him was that if he convinced me that his love for dogs wasn’t a passing fad I would get him one. He wasn’t convinced, but he didn’t argue.
As time passed, though he looked longingly at every dog he met, his demand to own a dog of his own got feebler. I realised that his interest was waning. So, just when I was breathing a sigh of relief, my daughter started demanding a pet dog. Well, it was back to square one.
I explained to her why we couldn’t get a dog at home, how she would have to take responsibility of training him, feeding him, and taking him down for his rounds. She was convinced she could manage it all.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love dogs, and I had a dog at home too when I was a kid, and so did my husband. Bringing a pet in the house is almost akin to planning another baby, and we both were in agreement that we could do without the responsibility of a pet.
What I realised soon enough was that convincing my son was an easier task than convincing my daughter. The negotiations went on and on. The son joined in the chorus too. So finally we agreed that we’d be okay with a pet, but it couldn’t be a dog or a cat. After intense negotiations it was decided that we would get a small fish tank for them to supervise and maintain. So the fish tank with all its accessories and fishes arrived home.
I wasn’t too sure if they’d be able to look after them, but then in some time realised that it has been four months since the fishes had arrived, and both the kids amongst themselves had divided their responsibilities - daughter looks after their food and son after the cleanliness of the fish tank. They have also managed to check on their health everyday by keeping a close eye on the fishes.
What is amazing to note is how they have taken charge of their fishes — names have been given to each. When the first batch of fishes died, both of them said a small prayer for their souls to rest in peace. It was heartening to watch. Seeing how they’ve managed to take charge of the fishes, a tiny voice in my heart says maybe they are ready to have a dog as a pet. But as of now the mind overrules the heart.
They say pets have more compassion and love to give than most humans. Having experienced that, I agree, and maybe soon enough my children will as well.
Priyanka Chaturvedi is a media recruitment consultant, full-time mum, part-time social worker, voracious reader and a blogger