Having fur children

Photo Courtesy Miranda Lambert taken from People.com

Miranda Lambert doesn’t want kids.

At least not yet. She has quite a few adopted ones already: her dogs.

“I think the unconditional love you get from an animal, especially a dog, is better than anything else,” Lambert says. “They’re so grateful and the love they give you back is like nothing else.”

Currently, her and hubby Blake Shelton have six dogs but are constantly taking in strays at their Oklahoma home. She even started a nonprofit MuttNation Foundation in 2009 to help dogs and shelters in need.

She tells People Country, “There’s just something in me about dogs and animals.” Her first canine love was a yellow Lab named Cooter Brown. And she certainly doesn’t have any qualms about sharing her sleeping space; quiet nights at home involve lying on the couch with her husband and a few of the dogs “piled on top of us.”

Growing up, I never really understood why people would include animals in family pictures, talk about them as if they were “children” and let them sleep in/on their beds.

My mom was sort of a clean freak and couldn’t imagine scooping up animal poop daily, so we always had “non-messy” pets such as goldfish.

That ended the furry pets phase in the Rasmusen home for about a decade. Then my little brother came along, and, of course, as all little brothers do, he begged my dad for his very own puppy. And, as most dads do, he caved, and we got a little Yorkie named Jazz one exciting Christmas.

And after a few months of having Jazz, I felt a genuine love for that dog. We really did start to think of him as a member of the family. My mom was polite but not completely welcoming to our new addition, and we all thought it was hilarious that Jazz somehow claimed her sleeping pillow as his favorite place to sit.

But alas, our fifth child was not meant to be. After finding one too many poops under the couch (and waking up at 4 a.m. for potty breaks, and chasing him up the street and down the street and all over the neighborhood as soon as someone opened the door) Jazz was sold to a wonderful woman who trained animals for visits to sick patients in hospitals.

Now that I have my own furry children (not animals — my kids are really hairy boys!) I’ve casually mentioned a dog companion for them when they’re older. My husband also had a dog, “Pepper,” growing up as well as several cats.

But like my mom, he doesn’t really want the hassle of scooping poop and training and midnight pee-pee trips.

We do that enough.

So from someone who is fairly inexperienced owning pets, I ask a question: Are they worth it? Do you treat your pet as your “extra child?” What kind of pets do you think are best for young families? (P.S. I am deathly allergic to cats, so feline friends are OUT!)

One comment

  1. Cat

    Being as I grew up with animals, a house is just not complete with out a dog. However, I also realize that every animal that comes into the house is a responsibility. We didn’t get our first dog until we had a house with a fenced yard. Since then we have had 2 dogs, 6 paraketes, 2 hamsters, a rabbit, 6 snakes, two lizards and a cat. I couldn’t even count all the fish we’ve had. Thankfully we haven’t had them all at the same time. For us dogs and cats are family pets that everyone cares for. I like medium sized dogs for young families as they can generally take the abuse that small children give and genrally they’re calmer. Fish are good pets but adults need to deal with the whole dying thing and cleaning out of the tanks. Snakes and lizards are nice because they’re quiet but they do require special care and handling. Not ideal for small children. Hamsters and gerbils are fun, but they’re noisy at night and small so children need to be supervised around them. The rule for any animal comming into my house is that it has to be one that I wouldn’t mind caring for. I did break that rule for my teenage sons and their snakes but so far, I haven’t had to care for those.

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