Parenting is One Thing, Pets Are Another…. 

“Mummy we need to talk about Santa”

It’s November, The Girl is 3.5 years old and just like in the film Love Actually, Christmas is indeed all around us. So, unlike when this was suggested to me in October, I agree to engage in the discussion. 

“I would like a pet please mummy” my heart sinks. Don’t get me wrong I am a huge fan of other people having pets and completely understand why people do, but it’s just not for us. Phil and I just aren’t really animal people. 

We tried. We once had a house rabbit called Clive, he lived in the dining room of our pre-baby house. He was fab, he was toilet trained and would jump in to his cage when the bell was rung. 

He also chewed everything in sight, malted hair everywhere, grew viciously long claws that were impossible to cut (it was definitely easier to anaesthetise a person than to snip his talons) and would sprint into the back corner of his cage the instant you tried to show any affection toward him. 

We put in the effort, I read every book about caring for animals, I googled house rabbit questions like a new mum googles “how to make my baby sleep” but Clive just didn’t want to play. All in all, perhaps not the most rewarding of pets. 

When the Girl was about 8weeks old, I was upstairs trying to feed her in to a milk induced coma when Phil comes in and in a panicked whisper says “I think Clive is dead”. 

“What do you mean you ‘think’ Clive is dead?” 

“Well he isn’t moving, breathing,responding or opening his eyes” And there speaks a doctor, someone who can confirm human death with certainty but stands in front of me questioning the vitality of our 4 yr old rabbit despite all the signs suggesting, with absolute certainty that Clive is dead. 

So our ‘dwarf’ rabbit who was nearly 2ft long when stretched out, with his feet behind him and his ‘hands’ in front (his favourite position to be in) had died. In said position. Meaning he was twice the size of a shoe box and the small animal carrier, and bigger than any other box we happened to have in the house. We didn’t know what to do, we had never before been in this position, we didn’t know what to do with a dead animal. 

So we called Clegg. Our friend who lived about 200 yards away and is some sort of animal whisperer (although not once they are dead it turns out). With her history of having had several rabbits who have lived and died she was the woman we needed. Phil explained the predicament of an appropriate vessel to take the recently deceased Clive to the vets in (and the fact phil was freaked out by dead Clive and didn’t want to touch him) and Clegg came to the rescue. With a large box. A box to transport our enormous, dead and fully stretched out rabbit, to the waiting room of the vets. The waiting room which would be filled with passionate animal lovers and their very much alive pets. So Clive’s final journey was in a Kenwood food processor box complete with pictures of raw meat on the side.

I don’t think Clive would have minded- sure he was a vegetarian and sure, any contact with a food processor in his living days would have been some sort of terrifying torture situation and clearly not the path he was meant to take, but I like to think he was fairly open minded and ultimately a box is a box. Or that’s what we told Clegg as she heroically volunteered to take him to the vets, as I was only just capable of leaving the house with The Girl, never mind The Girl and an oversized food processor box containing dead Clive. 

So with this experience in mind I know The Girl is going to be disappointed as Santa will not be bringing her a pet, but I entertain the discussion for a little longer asking what sort of pet she would like…

“A crocodile mummy, and if I can’t have a crocodile then 3 caterpillars please” 

Well, unexpected options but perhaps possible, and she did say please….