I had this vision of having lots of little, fluffy critters running around for my children to play with, once we bought our new home, but this bunny taught me a lesson:
Animals are hard to take care of.
They require daily maintenance and upkeep. You have to feed them every day, keep their cages clean, and give them attention. If you want to go on vacation you have to find someone to watch them. Sometimes they escape, and run away, and even destroy things. They're like two year olds that never grow up!
This is not what I had in mind.
What I really wanted were fluffy critters that could self-feed, never pee or poop, keep the house clean, and be naturally socialized.
These types of animals do not exist, I guess. I'm even starting to think that all my happy memories of having fluffy animals as a kid must exist because my mom took care of the animals, not me. Or else I just enjoyed it much more because I didn't already have a gaggle of children to care for.
Either way, I'm glad bunny found a new home at the bunny farm. He's going to help mate with female bunnies so more bunnies can be made, so then people can eat them. (Sorry, friends who don't like eating animals. We live in meat-eating country.) I am happy to know that he will be used for breeding, not eating, and will live a long, happy life. Maybe. But definitely a better life than living in a small cage on our front porch with a family that doesn't pet him much because he bites and scratches. Yep, much, much better.
That same week we got rid of the Bunny I picked up a free Guinea Pig from a family that was moving away.
Why did I do this? Perhaps it was out of guilt for not giving our bunny a very long chance. Or maybe because I still have this silly dream of having lots of fluffy critters around. Or maybe because I wanted Jonah to have the experience of his very own pet to love.
He's friendly, cuddly, and not as stinky. The boys can pick him up and hold him without worrying about being scratched, and he doesn't eat nearly as much as a bunny! He's definitely a keeper: no guinea pig farm for him. :)
In other news, we still have our cat, Cotton Candy. Although, sadly, his brother Pumpkin disappeared the first week we moved into this house and we haven't seen him since. We are pretty bummed about losing him, as he was a very special cat for us. The cat story is here. We put up signs, searched the neighborhoods, and called all the animal shelters, but he still hasn't shown up. I like to think he is happily dwelling in a field of sage brush, catching mice, and loving his wild, free life. I hope.
Speaking of things that eat mice, Z got a pet snake. It's a corn snake and it eats about two live mice per month. It lives in a large, glass terrarium in Z's room. The mice live in the laundry room. Since there isn't anywhere to buy feeding mice in our town, my husband decided to breed our own. The first batch of babies were born a few weeks ago. They are small and hairy and will become snake food someday. Ahhh, the circle of life.
I personally can't bear to watch the snake kill and eat the mice, but my family thinks it's really neat. In fact, the boys invite their friends over when it's "mouse-feeding time." It's quite the exciting spectacle, I've heard.
The only one they really listen to is Micah the supreme dog owner. He handles all the dog, snake, and mice stuff, and I stick to the cat and guinea pig. I guess we make a good team of pet owners, as long as I get the easy ones. ha ha ha.
All in all, we really love our dogs. Each day when I watch the boys out the back window, playing, wrestling, and laughing with their dogs, it brings a genuine smile to my face.
Although they can be a bit overwhelming, I'm glad we have all these animals right now. (two dogs, one cat, one guinea pig, one snake, and a bunch of mice) I think it's good to expose children to a variety of pets and the responsibility it requires to care for them. Looking back, I loved having my own dog, my own chicken, and all those parakeets, mice, hampsters, bunnies, cats, duck, and reptiles my mom used to let us have.
Even if I don't remember taking care of them!
However, I've decided that if we had to get pets all over again, we'd get ALL cats. They are the perfect animals to have around. They don't require a lot of maintenance, nor do they need a lot of attention. They are the epitomy of fluffy critter, plus they are independent, and free spirited! My kind of pets! When I grow up and my kids move away, maybe I'll be the crazy cat lady.