Now Lottie, you may be a pet person. You may not.
Pets are a great way to learn responsibility when you’re young, be warned though, they may seem all wide eyed and glossy tailed, but all pets come with a whole load of poo, wee, sick, sometimes fur-balls as well as a lot of jobs for the pet owner: cleaning out cages, or litter trays or tanks, organising trips to the vet, feeding regularly and so on.
Pets can also be very rewarding and good company, but, be sensitive to other people’s needs surrounding your pet. As a child that was scared (bordering on terrified) of dogs, people’s comments of:
“Don’t worry, he’s only being friendly,” or “He won’t hurt you,” or “He’s just playing,”
thrown over their shoulder as their dog jumped up, paws on my shoulders, tongue in my face, were not useful, neither solved my dog-phobia. In fact, some people were downright insensitive. Playing in the park used to be a nightmare for me as a child, knowing that at any given moment one of my canine foes could emerge from the undergrowth and attempt to floor me.
As an adult, I don’t mind dogs at all. But I still don’t enjoy it when I’m out and someone’s dog jumps up at me. Yesterday, we had to throw away a large section of a picnic, because a man’s puppy ran all over it and slobbered on some of the food. He wasn’t even apologetic. I thought this was fairly irresponsible of him. (The man, not the puppy. The puppy didn’t know any better.)
By moving in to the house I currently live in, I now have (sort-of) inherited a gorgeous cat called George, by the premise that we live in the same house. He is as nutty as a fruit cake, and keeps me entertained for hours, I adore him, but am mindful that anyone visiting may not feel that way. Perhaps I’m more sensitive having had my own pet phobias in the past, but I check that people don’t have allergies or phobias before they come over.
So maybe one day you will become a loving dog owner, or a ferret fanatic, or a cat-lady, or a hamster hugger, just be mindful that although you may love your pet to pieces (and rightly so!) not everyone may share your love, it doesn’t make them bad people, it just makes them different to you.
Gus, the Putney Theatre Cat