Gleek would dearly love to have a pet. Her desires are hampered on two points. First, Howard and I require children to express their commitment to pet ownership by saving up enough money to buy both the animal and all the accouterments. Gleek tends to spend her money impulsively. Second, I am allergic to the pets she would enjoy most. This really stinks for both of us, because she’ll sadly cry to me about how she would love a furry pet and I will feel guilty because it is my fault that she can’t have one. (Yes I know there are hairless, and hypoallergenic options, none of them has felt right for us so far.) An additional barrier, which Gleek does not see, is that our lives are incredibly busy right now and I’m mentally rejecting anything that would add complexity to our lives.
So we’ve been force to be creative in attempting to fill Gleeks emotional need to nurture. I try to make sure she gets a chance to play with other people’s pets. I also try to give her chances to play with young children. These things help. But they are still not the same.
Yesterday we got something of a welcome surprise. The cat we rescued over a year ago, kept for two weeks, and then returned to her owner, has shown back up at our house. Her owners went on vacation and she came to stay with us. We’ve already called the owners and left a message. When they get home I’m sure they’ll come claim her. Until then it looks like we have a part-time cat.
We also have Sea Monkeys. Two little bowls of brine shrimp are sitting on windowsills. At first it was just one and we thought that all the shrimps had died. But there was one left. It grew quite large and Gleek named it “It”. She spent significant amounts of time anthropomorphizing the little beastie, telling me what It liked and did not like. I knew that one day It would die, so we invested in the second bowl. Once again it looked like all the little shrimps died. But yesterday we discovered that half a dozen were still there. This is good because It died the same day. We’ve started a fresh batch of eggs in the bowl. And so the colonies continue.
A longer term solution would be good. There would be significant emotional benefits for Gleek if she had a pet. There would also be significant impacts on the rest of us. I have to make sure that we can all commit to supporting and meeting the emotional/physical needs of the animal before I agree to add it to the family. And so my mental circling continues, not unlike the circling of Gleek’s sea monkeys.