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convincing kids not to want a pet

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OK, say you were a parent and your young child (5 - 7 years old) REALLY wanted a pet, but you REALLY didn't want to get one, what excuses would you use? (Besides, where are you going to keep it, who will feed it and clean up it's you know what. . . )

Quirky answers welcomed!
#1 - June 28, 2013, 07:37 AM

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I've told my kids that as soon as they move out of the house and become financially independent they can have a pet. Then they have something to look forward to. You don't want to peak too early, and acquiring one's heart's desire at seven years old leaves one facing a very long downhill slope.
#2 - June 28, 2013, 07:43 AM
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There was a facebook page posted by siblings saying that if they could get something like a million likes, their mom would get them a puppy. They did get the required number through networking. The mom didn't believe they could do it. The kids ended up adopting a shelter dog.

Edited to add link to page: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=311359888985564&set=a.311359885652231.75145.311358798985673&type=1&theater
#3 - June 28, 2013, 07:50 AM
« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 08:01 AM by ShirleyH »
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We have a dog already, and have unsuccessfully hosted a few other smaller pets over the years. (I'll leave it up to your imagination to determine what "unsuccessful" means in that context.) My daughter recently decided she wants a guinea pig. Rather than refuse or try to talk her out of it, we told her that she could get one with her own money if she would take care of it entirely on her own.

To prove that she's responsible enough to do that, we gave her a list of chores to do around the house - cleaning, vacuuming, feeding the dog, cleaning up after the dog, etc. Every time she does one of those chores she gets one point. If by the end of the summer she has a certain number of points (I think we said 500 or 600), she's shown she's responsible enough, and she's allowed to get the guinea pig.

The first two weeks she was racking up the points. The third week, not so much. By now, I think she's mostly forgotten about the list. We probably won't be getting a guinea pig. :-)
#4 - June 28, 2013, 07:52 AM

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I grew up with dogs. I love dogs! I desperately want to get a dog. The kids do, too. BUT I have four kids in a small house and spend most of my time cleaning up after everybody. I've told them when I no longer have to be the only one responsible for ALL THE THINGS we can consider it. Because I really, really do not need more to do, really do NOT need one more lovable creature to clean up after. They're trying, but it's small steps. (Kids are 11, 10, 8 & 7, BTW.)

At the same time, I *did* promise them when my first book is published, we'd definitely get a dog. Considering that I'm not agented and have nothing under contract, I feel comfortable with that particular promise.  :lol4
#5 - June 28, 2013, 07:59 AM

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Well then, JennaWren, I hope your kids get a dog.  ;D.

I wanted to get pets, but because we move so much for work it wasn't practical. So I fostered pets from our local humane society instead and that cured me. We took in two dogs at two different times that were strays before being rescued. That was difficult. One of the dogs was very difficult to potty train. Not fun.

Then we had four kittens at one time and they were lovely but soooooo much work. Your kids could volunteer at the humane society. It might work wonders or make them want one even more. After cleaning up a couple hundred litter boxes they might be less inclined to keep one at home, though. Our humane society allowed even small children to help out. You could go in and pet the cats among other things and that worked well for us. We got our pet fix without having one of our own.

I like Anthony's idea a lot too. I think I might have to steal it for a little want list problem we have at our house :).
#6 - June 28, 2013, 08:46 AM
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We went through this too. My kids would plead, but my answer was always that we would get a dog when I wanted to get a dog. They would make all kinds of promises about how they would take care of the dog, etc., but all us parents know that no matter how well-intentioned they are, the kids just won't do it. So don't feel guilty. If you get a dog it will be your dog, not theirs. You will be the one taking care of it, walking it, playing with it, loving it.

We did finally get a dog after I found my then 11-year-old crying in his room, saying he needed a dog to tell his troubles to when his older brother picked on him. He also said a dog would be his metaphor for responsibility. (He's my writer son.) But I was ready then. We got a rescue - a sweet little 6-year-old beagle who was absolutely my dog. Followed me everywhere. We had 8 years together, but had to put her down a few weeks ago. My family was very sad. I was devastated.
#7 - June 28, 2013, 09:05 AM

We have pets, but parents who really didn't want one might not be afraid to get creative....

They bite.
They smell.
It'll eat your favorite stuffies.
Dogs really hate the smell of (kid's favorite food) so if we get a dog, no more (food).
I'm allergic. Your Dad's allergic. Cats are allergic to fish so if we got a cat we'd have to get rid of your beloved Guppy.

Or you can go with the one my parents' used... that bunny Auntie and Uncle with No Children gave you for Easter escaped. It hopped away in the middle of the night. Maybe it was one of those rabbits that came from a magic show.
#8 - June 28, 2013, 09:27 AM

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If you're living in a rental or your fictional family is living in a rental (not sure if this is a real life question), you could tell them the landlord won't allow it.

For a quirkier reason, you might use unusual allergies, or maybe weird phobias, or a family curse that's been passed down for generations. Maybe the town you live in has banned certain pets for strange reasons. I'd better stop here because I think I've moved from quirky to strange.

Good luck.

Laurel
#9 - June 28, 2013, 09:32 AM

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At the same time, I *did* promise them when my first book is published, we'd definitely get a dog. Considering that I'm not agented and have nothing under contract, I feel comfortable with that particular promise.  :lol4

I told my kids the same thing! :)

My oldest was desperate for a cat last year. We told him that he could have a cat in his own house when he grew up. He accepted the answer, and, somehow, three months later we adopted a cat. We either taught our kiddo that not whining works, or that if he's patient he'll get anything he wants. (FYI, a week after we got the cat he desperately wanted a dog.)
#10 - June 28, 2013, 10:23 AM

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Thanks everyone for chiming in! But I should have been clearer - this is for a PB idea that's been bouncing around in my head. But with a twist. So I want to take real reasons and go from there. So these real life examples are good fodder for me. And yes, we have two cats and we get the occasional begging for dogs or hamsters. .  . at least our neighbors got a puppy so they are getting their dog fix, as I have made it very clear we are not getting another pet that I have to take care of!

And Jenna Wren, crossing my fingers for your kids to get a dog!!!!

Thanks again everyone.
#11 - June 28, 2013, 11:02 AM

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Ooops. Sorry :sheep

The thing that usually does me in with some pets is the smell. So maybe if the kids get a pet, the house will start to stink so bad their friends will stop coming over. Then their food, clothes hair, etc. will start smelling bad too and no one will want to be around them. To fill the loneliness, they'll get more pets and become like the crazy cat lady on the corner that everyone is afraid of.

#12 - June 28, 2013, 01:47 PM
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I always used Samuel L. Jackson's line, "If they can't feed themselves a sandwich, it ain't happening."
#13 - June 28, 2013, 01:51 PM

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Hee hee ... I shouldn't be posting in this thread at all ...  Pets are great. We have a dog, a cat, a hamster. They bite, they shed, they poop, but they sure are easier to raise than children. At one point we had four cats.

However, when my daughter asks if we can have a second dog, I ask why? Isn't it enough to have one? Are you willing to vacuum every day so that we're not covered in hair? Same thing when she asks for more kittens. Is she going to clean out two boxes every single day? Right now we have a guest cat and guess who ends up doing all the work? Yup, moi.

The biggest reason now is that sometimes we cannot take vacations together because we don't always find someone reliable to care for the pets when we are gone.

I hope you will get a cat. They are the best. Easy to care for. Lots of love in return.

And now I will say ciao meow ... and slink away to my own critters :)
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#14 - June 28, 2013, 02:00 PM
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There are always cats. Except for opening doors and food containers they pretty much take care of themselves.  ;)
#15 - June 28, 2013, 02:40 PM

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I would ask them if they like Sponge Bob Square Pants. If they answer yes, Tell them they might like a gold fish. With a gold fish they can play make believe that the gold fish lives in Bikini Bottom (Sponge Bob's Hood) and works at the Crusty Crab. Fill the bowl with some things that reference something that sparks their imagination. Just an idea.
#16 - June 28, 2013, 02:49 PM

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I love pets...but hypothetically speaking, for your story's sake, I would say that pets die before the owner, so you're just preparing your child for the misery of loss. (This is said with tongue in cheek.)
#17 - June 28, 2013, 03:31 PM
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For fiction, I'd go totally crazy with it -- like you can't get a cat because dogs would come prowling from all over the city to eat it, or that classic idea of cats along fence tops, yowling at night, so that there were so many cats on the fences that the fences fell down, or you can't have a dog because the dog would eat all the table scraps and there'd be nothing to compost for the garden, or.....
#18 - June 28, 2013, 09:53 PM
« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 09:55 PM by Joni »
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We used allergies as an excuse. I have four kids, so I think I went through around seven years when I either had a baby in hand or a baby on the way. I used to say that I couldn't take care of an animal and a baby at the same time. We also used "maybe when you are older and can take care of it yourself."

My husband almost invariably offered to start up the aquarium again and get fish. (The previous fish were electrocuted by my oldest daughter when she was about four. She knocked the lid into the tank while the light was on.) When he offered fish to my third daughter, who was eight at the time, she stamped her foot and proclaimed, "I want a mammal!" Last fall, she got involved in 4H and started researching rabbits as a possible 4H project. My husband panicked and adopted a kitten for her to raise instead.
#19 - June 28, 2013, 10:16 PM
« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 10:18 PM by Michelle DP »

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Ah, if it's fiction, after all the zany answers, the kid must prevail and get a pet, even if it's a rabid raccoon, right?
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#20 - June 29, 2013, 05:57 AM
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By this time you've probably finished your book, but I can't help contributing. All I can see in my head is that episode from Life with Louie (Louie Anderson cartoon) where Louie keeps asking for a pet. At one point he comes into the kitchen and asks, in his gravely voice:
"Mom, can I have a cat?"
and mom answers (in Edie McClurg's voice):
"Oh, no, dear, they lick the butter."
 :haha
#21 - July 11, 2013, 07:48 AM

Now that the cats have scratched up our brand new leather furniture,  I wish I'd come up with some good reasons not to get pets.  Seriously, a list of damage they've caused to other people should ward offf anyone.  When my dog was a  puppy she chewed up numerous power cords, the faces off stuffed animals, ran across a laptop on the floor.  I could go on and on.

Maybe you could say the kids' stuffed animals would be sad/jealous if real animals moved in.

Another idea--I was bitten by two dogs in one week when I was ten, and so I've been scared and distrustful of them for years.  so that could be a reason.  Good luck!
#22 - July 11, 2013, 08:51 AM
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Thanks for chiming in. It's still a work in progress - so these are all great!
#24 - July 12, 2013, 06:14 PM

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Honestly, my answers on this are always based on the animal. We have a turtle (spouse & son's fault), a rescued cat (son & daughter's fault), 2 rescued Rottweilers (mine), a rescued Rott/Lab mix (mine), & a rescued chihuahua (son).  Two of those simply appeared here, or we'd only have 1 Rott & the Rott mix.

OTOH, I've refused the tarantula with "if I can't cuddle it, it's a no go" (son was 5-6), & the bird with "small dinosaurs scare me, & then I'd have to cuddle YOU in front of your friends, possibly arriving at your school mid-class if I get scared" (son was 10 thru 12 during that whole bit), & the iguana "they eat a lot of kale, & if I buy too much, you're eating it"(he was 8), & the chicken with "base housing (& more recently the home owner association) won't approve it; maybe next move" (he was 4-13).

I suspect there are chickens in my future next time we move. He's finally decided that the NEXT address will be chicken-approved or we can't move there.
#25 - July 13, 2013, 09:56 PM

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