The Gallery: Animals

‘I just don’t like animals!’ my daughter will say whenever cows, sheep and horses are mentioned to her. She doesn’t like zoos and she’s frightened of dogs. She’s frightened of birds, she’s even frightened of cats.

We’re not a family of animal lovers and the only pets my kids have ever known are a rabbit which died a year before my daughter was even born, a caterpillar called Colin and three fish which lived a grand total of 16 days – several of which we were actually on holiday.

Pets are a hassle.

But recently I’ve been thinking. I’ve been feeling a bit guilty. Because maybe life isn’t too short for pets, maybe life is too short not to have pets. My eldest would love a dog, my younger son would love a cat. Could we have a pet?

I’ve always loved rabbits. We got a rabbit when I was 9, who lived about four years. He was followed by another rabbit, who lived another four years, then another who lived about eight. I loved those rabbits. At the age of 21, and still at university, my husband (then boyfriend) and I got our own rabbit – Happy. Happy travelled in the car with us when we went home for the weekend. But he had to be put down by the vet after only two years. I was devastated. He was followed by Mischief, who ended up living with my mum and dad when I moved to London, along with Fudge – the rabbit that lived eight years.

When Mischief died, we were rabbit-free for a few years. But my husband bought me Bertie for Valentine’s Day when I first got pregnant with my younger son. Bertie was a handful – he ran fast and he was hard to catch. When my younger son was six weeks old, he escaped. I trailed around the streets with my baby in the Baby Bjorn looking for my rabbit and eventually tracked him down to a local animal shelter after he’d been picked up in an office car park down the road.

Bertie only lived two years. I realised rabbits needed more care than I, with two very small children, could give them. They needed cleaning more often. Rabbits get ill easily and when they get ill, they don’t fight. They just give up and die. I couldn’t put myself or my babies through that.

I’d never considered guinea pigs before, but suddenly they’re all I can think of. I’m fixated on them. I think they’re the perfect pet – similar to my beloved rabbits, but more resilient. Not as much work as a cat or a dog, more interesting than a hamster.

Without consulting my husband, without even really thinking it through, I told the kids I thought we should get a guinea pig (or maybe two). They love the idea, and so do I. My husband hasn’t actually said no. My animal-hating daughter wants the guinea pigs more than anyone.

So I think this family of people who don’t love animals may just be getting our own animal soon.

I’d hoped to share a picture of one of my beloved rabbits, but those albums are buried in a deep, dark cupboard somewhere. Then I saw these guinea pig ornaments at a garden centre the other day and I decided it was fate.

The Gallery, pets, guinea pig ornaments

Linking up with The Gallery at Sticky Fingers. Pop over to see how others have interpreted the theme ‘animals’.


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Ahhh I love rabbits. My cousin had one and it was faster than we could run some days. Guinea pigs sound like an excellent pet for children. They always look so cute and kind of look content to just sit there don’t they? I think it’s a sign too!

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    • They do! Much calmer than rabbits! I remember my dad used to have to rugby tackle the rabbits to catch them!

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  2. What a really interesting post as we are having the same debate in our family – and my little girl wants a rabbit
    We have never had pets before, I’ve never had a pet when I was growing up so we really are animal free. Reading this and your rabbit encounters has made me think more realistically about them (I was wavering, but I’m not any more). I think it’s back to the drawing board for us & I’m glad you’ve made up your mind. Bring on the Guinea Pigs!

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    • Sorry to hear you’re back to the drawing board, but better to know what you’re letting yourself in for! It seems like pet shops are much more careful about selling animals and give far more detailed advice than they did back in the day. They want to be sure a family is capable of really caring for the animals, and rightly so!

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  3. When I first saw that pic I thought your guinea pigs were wearing head phones!

    I cant imagine NOT having animals, we have always had something furry at home. And I must admit I do love rabbits but we have too many foxes roaming around at night that I am too scared to get rabbits, unless they are indoor house rabbits.

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    • Every time I see the pic I think it looks like they’re wearing headphones too! It’s amazing that proper ‘pet people’ can have so many animals around them and it’s no trouble at all to them, whereas for people like me it seems like hard work!
      We had a couple of close encounters with foxes and rabbits over the years – scary!

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  4. I used to have rabbits but as you say they need a lot of care so now I only have cats and fish. Cats are much easier than rabbits. Guinea pigs have a messy cage, they poo more like rodents (everywhere) than rabbits (in one corner) buts they are very cute. I think introducing death via pets is an important life lesson for kids. That’s why hamsters make great first pets too, hard to become very attached to, great fun to play with and don’t live long naturally! Guinea pigs are great fun. Enjoy x

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    • It’s funny, I never considered that cats might be easier than rabbits – I just presumed as they were bigger and not in a cage that made them harder work! I think I’m allergic to them though, so cats aren’t a possibility.
      You’re right about the death lesson – I said that to my son when he was getting upset. Best to go through it with a pet while you’re still young than for your first experience of death to be a family member 🙁 x

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  5. Growing up we had a cat and a rabbit, both of whom I adored! When the husband and I got together he got me a house rabbit one Easter who we then had to give away because we moved and the landlord wouldn’t accept pets. Once we moved into a place where pets were allowed, we got a cat, only for her to run away once Harry arrived!

    Harry and the husband would love a dog but living in a flat we don’t feel it’s fair. I’d like a house rabbit again but the husband keeps saying no!

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    • I’ve heard that house rabbits are quite easy to look after and it would be great fun having one running around 🙂 Hope you manage to persuade him!

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  6. I can see you are going to move into the pet market. The rabbits are a favourite one here.

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  7. I never, ever thought I would hear you say these words! We have had guinea pigs in the past and they are a very good first pet – not much work and quite friendly. Didn’t I see you say on FB the other day that you’ve just gone out and got some?

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    • Yes, you sussed me! Genuinely I wrote this post before we got them and really thought we wouldn’t be getting them for a few more weeks! I’ve just been thinking over the last few months that maybe I’m being a bit mean not to let the kids have a pet. The kids aren’t getting any younger, so I decided it was about time we did!

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  8. Never had a rabbit, we are a cat household


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  9. We have lots of pets but wouldn’t have bunnies as they are just too much hard work, and I know who would end up doing it!

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    • That’s one of the main reasons I’ve been put off for so many years!

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  10. Those figurines looks so real!! We have lots of pets in our house in Manila. In here I dont think I can manage to even have a caterpillar. My plate is just to full that it would be unfair to have even one. But I miss pets. I miss talking to someone who really listen and cares. My sister said that one of our dog Bossing is nearing the end and this news made me sad. I love Bossing and I am so sad that I wont be there when he would be gone. Sorry I just remembered him. He is always in my mind lately. #TheGallery

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    • That’s such a sad thing to hear. It must be strange living without pets when you’ve been used to having so many.

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  11. Guinea pigs are great, we keep ours indoors and they are excellent with kids. Plus they are awake during the day and sleep at night unlike hamsters x

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    • That’s one of the reasons I went for them over hamsters. Plus them living longer! x

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  12. Definitely! And hopefully it will help her find her confidence with more animals.

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  13. I never been without animals in my life, always had several dogs, cats, rabbits and Guinea Pigs, over the last 10 years or so as each one has died its not been replaced.

    Now all I have is one aged dog and I’m dreading the day we lose him, I’ll be without a pet for the first time ever, but with my health its unfair to get another dog, cats are ok but there are loads around here and they always fighting, so a cat is out of the question.

    I’m going to try life without a pet once my darling dog does finally cross the Rainbow Bridge, but a Guinea Pig is my choice if I really really can’t survive with a furry companion.

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