First Pets

Growing up, we always had animals in the house.
I honestly can’t remember a time when my family didn’t have a furry friend included as part of our clan, and I still look back on each of those beloved animals with the dearest of memories.
Having a pet is something that all kids desire at some point in their childhood. Some are born already having a family pet as an older sibling, and those that don’t will likely try to convince their parents that adopting an animal is essential for their lifelong happiness.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that the idea of adopting a pet into our family has become more prevalent as my son approaches his third birthday. He loves animals. He just adores them. I see him light up every single time he sees one, whether it is a dog being walked down the street, a neighbour’s cat looking out of a bay window or one of the many squawking ravens perched on the roof of the Walmart. “Want to say hi!” he exclaims, and I smile at how much these interactions brighten his day.
It has become clear to my husband and I that our little guy would love to have a pet of his own, and I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that he would treat it with kindness. I see how sweet he is to his stuffed animals, sharing his breakfast and comforting them when he thinks they need a cuddle. I am proud of how he will wait to be invited to pet a passing dog before getting too close. His calm demeanour and willingness to be gentle assures me that he would do his best to take care of whatever type of pet he had.
Whitehorse provides a plethora of opportunities for animal adoption at the moment. The Humane Society and local adoption networks all offer a variety of choices for a (first) pet. I constantly find myself scrolling through social-media postings of dogs and cats looking for forever homes and I wonder if my family could be just that for any of these adorable creatures.

But, I want to be smart about this. I want to be responsible and make a decision that will not only make my child happy, but will also ensure that whatever pet we take in will be a good fit for our family.

So, now, my job is to determine the best route, going forward, on the path to getting my son his first pet. And surprisingly, as someone who always used to have pets, there are so many more things to consider before we move forward with this life-changing decision.
For example, do we currently have an ideal lifestyle to welcome in a furry friend? These days, I’m not so sure. With a son who is on the verge of becoming a threenager, I am so gosh-darn tired these days!

Having enough time to devote to providing all the necessities of a quality life for the animal we adopt is crucial. And if we were to adopt a dog, many of those available in the Yukon are either huskies or larger working dogs that need a lot of run time to use up their boundless energy. And as I mentioned earlier, my husband and I get home in the evenings exhausted right now. With a toddler who is non-stop these days, we’re lucky if we have an hour or so to unwind before going to bed.So, as much as a dog always seems to be at the top of our wish list, I can’t help but feel like adopting a dog, with our life and energy level as it is now, would not be the most responsible choice.
Cats make things a little easier on the time front. They’re much more independent and don’t require the same amount of play time that dogs do. However, allergies and the fact that my husband is definitely not a cat person have made this a less likely possibility. After all, this will be a family pet—so it’s important that we are all happy and healthy with the decision.
So we decided to look at other options.
Recently, we took our son to Duffy’s Pets and we were surprised by how utterly fascinated he was as he watched the many varieties of fish swim around their tanks. We expected him to be drawn in by the guinea pigs or bunnies. But, no. He loved the fish! So much so that we had to keep him from trying to pet them.
As a first pet, I don’t know if a fish would be the most exciting choice. However, when I think about why I want to get my son a first pet, in the first place, it definitely checks all the boxes. It would teach him responsibility as he helps take care of feedings and cleaning the tank. It would allow for him to form a special bond with another living creature. It would fit into the lifestyle we currently have. And, it would bring him a great deal of happiness. I know it does when he watches them at the pet store.
I would just have to prevent a recent nightmare (of him picking up the fish to give it a hug) from becoming a reality.
So perhaps I have found my answer. Perhaps our family will gain a new member very soon. And, while a “furry-er” friend may join our family in the future, for now it looks like my son’s first pet will most likely have fins and blow bubbles instead. Either way, I’m excited for this new chapter—and my Little Buddy will be over the moon.

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