Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pet Peeves

Will Kyle ever have a pet?  I like to think he will.  Not now, of course.  Our current apartment building has a strict "no pets" policy.  We had to pay off our landlady to receive an exemption so that we could take Kyle home from the hospital.  We plan to move eventually, perhaps to one of those fancy places with a dishwasher, and maybe then we'll get a pet. 

Kyle seems ready for one, and he seems to like dogs.  He bonded with two of them on Saturday, as our family met with some of our friends for a picnic in a park near the beautiful and aromatic East River.  One dog was Penny, a Jack Russell Terrier belonging to our friends Mickey and Bonni, and the other one was Bailey, a lab-beagle mix belonging to our friends Matt and Amanda (and supposedly their two-month-old son Evan, though Evan has yet to do owner duties such as walking and feeding him).  Kyle knows these dogs well, as Bailey was the first one he ever met, and Penny was with him when he took his first walk.  The little guy spent much of his time playing with the dogs and handing them things to chew on (sticks, leaves, smaller animals, dad's arm, etc.).  He was having a great time, and, as we left the park later that afternoon, I couldn't help but wonder how long it'll be before we have a dog of our own.

Yet, there's still a question as to whether Kyle wants a dog or just enjoys playing with other people's pets.  He might not welcome one in our home.  It's no secret that dogs don't always welcome new babies.  Maybe the reverse is true.

For example, each morning, as Jennifer and I eat our cereal in front of the morning news (we have a thing for local murders and fashion tips), Kyle stands by us, whining and pointing at our bowls, waiting for us to drop him a scrap even though he ate a full breakfast a short time earlier.  I often give him a few Cheerios after he rolls around or balances a ball on his nose.  With a dog in the house, Kyle would have to compete for the scraps, and, considering that dogs have sharper teeth and claws, the little guy might end up sitting in the corner and sulking.

Then there's the whole toy problem.  Right now Kyle's toys are scattered throughout the apartment, ready at a moment's notice for him to grab and shove into his mouth.  Enter a dog, and most of those toys will have to be put away to make room for the pet's new chew toys.  We'd probably have to put Kyle's things on a very high self so that the dog wouldn't be able to reach them, and chances are we'd have to keep our son in his crib or the fire escape as he played with them.  We wouldn't want his stuff getting mixed up with the dog's.

And, finally, there are the walks.  Each weekday morning and afternoon, the little guy and I explore the neighborhood.  Kyle really enjoys these trips outside, and he often points out all the trees and fire hydrants along the way.  Should we get a dog, I probably would have to give it first dibs on the trees and fire hydrants.  And because I'd be busy walking the pet, I wouldn't be able to give Kyle as much attention.  The obvious solution would be to send Kyle to school.  Then, after a long day of classes and avoiding bullies, as the little guy looks at a large pile of homework to do, he probably will ask me why I am sending him to such a wretched place, and I'd have to be honest and say, "Because you wanted a dog."

We're still debating whether getting Kyle a dog would be a smart move.  At least we still have some time to make a decision.  I don't think we will be moving out of our pet-free apartment any time soon, and there's always a chance Kyle could have a little brother or sister by the time we leave.  If that's the case, the little guy might be too busy feeding him or her sticks and leaves to even desire a pet.  I guess we'll just wait and see what happens.

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