I'm kind of not a good example of the age question. I got Lois when I was about 12. Once I got a job at 16, I had to pay for all of her expenses. I sacrificed the college money from my grandparents to set up her vet fund. I didn't move out for college because she couldn't live in the dorms. (She was actually one of the reasons I broke off my engagement- he thought I'd get rid of her when we married!) I actually chose this job in part because they would let me bring her in with me every day.
My parents now say they're not quite sure what the hell they were thinking back then. Lois has always been my primary responsibility- but my parents used her to help me learn how to be responsible. They were always there to help (aka ground me) when I failed to be responsible as a kid.
I think that's the key. If parents aren't willing to step in and do the extra work, they have no business with family pets. The child's age is kind of not the issue when you look at it that way.
- Cavy Comic
I had a friend over for a visit, her 11 year old son harrassed Kooky badly, she didn't even stop him, I had to step in quickly.
Hub has coworkers, who's 6-8 year old kids had 8 hammies dead in a year, one after the other, each one they got, says enough.
It depends on the parents, not the kids, I agree. If they can't teach kids how to treat a pet in a nice way, it's no use anyway.
- one pig at a time.
My daughter loves all of the animals, but always says when she grows up she wants no small animals, just 2 Golden Retrievers and 3 cats. She does pay more attention to our cat and dog than the caged animals, but has a close attachment to Allie-Belle (one of our pigs).
My son has also always played an active roll in the animals, but really has not gone out of way to pay more attention to one or the other, that is until we adopted rats about a year ago. He LOVES the rats and the rats seem to think he is pretty cool too. He has taught two of our rats tricks and he is allowed to take them out on his own and play with them, unlike the pigs. The rats are just easier for him to handle and can ride on his shoulder so I don't have to worry about him dropping them as much.
Anyways, for the past six months or so he has really wanted his own pet. He has been actively talking about it and really wants a rat of his own. The problem is rats tend to do better in pairs so he would have to have two of them. Another thing is the rescue does not adopt to kids, so I would have to say I was adopting them, which I guess I would be, but Kevin is really pushing the issue about them being "his".
I gave him one of our rats in hopes that woud tide him over, but to be honest the rats prefer me over anyone else, so if I walk by the rat is stretching out as far as she can to come and see me.
I don't know what to do. I have always taught my kids to love animals, and they have been involved with them from the time they could sit up. I love the fact that my son is showing so much interest in an animal that most people throw to the curbside. I just don't know if it is the right time for him to get his "own" pet....????
Just suggestions. Growing up, we always had pets. When I was 10, I got an iguana. My father either didn't know or didn't care on how to take care of it, so after a few months of eating iceberg lettuce and carrots it died, despite my best efforts.
I've always heard that rats are a great pet for children since they are relatively sturdy, very friendly, and because they are not as long lived, it is easier for children to care for them for their entire lifespan.
I think it's okay for the kid to think the pet is his, as long as the parents have no delusions about the fact that if things get tough, it's really the entire family's responsibility to pull together to make sure the pet is okay.