“I want a lion rabbit,” Kenny says on the way home from school.
“A lion rabbit.” He went on to tell me about how someone in his class owned one, and that was exactly what he wanted. If he couldn’t have a dog, that is.
I had to look that one up. A lionhead rabbit. Sure enough, there’s a kind of rabbit that looks like a lion, with a majestic mane of fur.
Pet ideas do usually come from school, and on another day, it was Ryan who came home wanting a kitten, after someone brought in a picture of her cat’s new litter.
“Wish we could take one home….” he said wistfully, hugging his fake cat. The one Santa brought, that simulates a real one; thanks to a 9-volt battery, the cat actually appears to be breathing.
But Ryan and I are both allergic to cute cuddly creatures, and Daddy himself is not a pet lover, so we have had to make due with less cuddly and less intrusive pets such as Bloonie the betta fish and Big Claw and Boombam the hermit crabs — all who passed away this winter.
When the boys begin to whine about getting another a pet, I remind them that it was a good two weeks before either noticed that the hermit crabs and fish were gone.
Still, it seems a weak argument, as neither pet was particularly interactive. The hermit crabs were no better than rocks, except at night when they’d awaken, but I was the only one who got to witness this, on my midnight forays to the kitchen. Bloonie actually would wag his fin tail when the boys would tap on the bowl to say hello. But then they would move on over to the fridge for a snack, and eventually wouldn’t stop by Bloonie at all.
As much as Kenny would like, if not a dog, a lionhead rabbit, he wants even more a parakeet. “I want a parakeet!” he cried one night.He often is difficult at bath time, and Daddy was carrying him upstairs to the bathroom.
“Why can’t we get a parakeet?” he screeched, struggling against his father who was trying to get him undressed.
“Birds don’t belong in cages,” Daddy countered, though I know my husband is not a pet person. He tolerated the fish and the crabs. I’m not sure he would tolerate a bird, let alone a rabbit, dog or cat.
“But parakeets can talk. I can teach him to talk to me.”
Kenny was overtired and I knew that. But I also knew that once he was well rested, the pet issue would come up again, if not from him, from his brother.
Sometimes I go on line to Google the perfect pet, for a household divided by the allergic, those who just don’t care for having a pet period, and those who desperately long for one. The corn snake is recommended as a good pet for children, but here I am the one who as an issue, and that is with slithering snakes. Then there is the gecko lizard, cute actually. But higher maintenance perhaps than a cat or dog, its survival dependent on an exact tank temperature and humidity.
Then I found it. The perfect pet: the petite lap giraffe. Really. It exists. A miniature giraffe whose size barely rivals that of long-necked bird.
Giraffes are Ryan’s favorite animals, so he loved the idea.
And I imagined that if you put a harness on it, the teensy giraffe could be walked like an actual dog, which Kenny liked.
And Daddy thought it was perfect. “He’s so cute,” he cooed when I showed him a photo on line, of one sitting on the edge of a couch, nuzzling his tiny head on a pillow. Daddy couldn’t wait to order one.
Just kidding. I didn’t even show Daddy the photo. Nor did I show it to the boys. It would only have muddled the pet issue in a way that it needed no further muddling. Because in a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to resort to miniature giraffes as pets, (though it’s easy to entertain the fantasy of how no one in either of our boys’ classes could boast about having one of those.) Ryan and I would probably be just as allergic to the giraffe as any other non-reptilian or non-marine animal. In a perfect world, our pet would be a dog, or a kitten, or perhaps a lion-haired rabbit. Or a parakeet. But it isn’t a perfect world, just as I remind our boys daily that they should never expect life to be fair, even when it comes to pets.
So for now we remain pet-less, I suppose until I can gather myself to invest in another betta fish or pair of hermit crabs. But if you yourself are interested in entertaining the petite lap giraffe option (it really is cute!), check out this site: