There comes a time in a family where the inevitable question of “Mom, Dad, can we have a pet?” comes up, and a military family is no different. When’s a good time and what you should choose differs in each family, but it should be brought up as a family discussion, letting the kids present the reasons why it’s a good idea and with them telling you what their duties will be when the new member arrives, but, of course, with the parents making the final decision. If you already have a pet, then adding to the family is going to be a consideration as well. Sometimes one is good, but two might be too much.
On Saturday, we strolled through a pet store just to kill some time and, of course, my grandkids wanted a pet. They’ve wanted a pet for some time but they just got back from an overseas station and my daughter just doesn’t want to deal with a dog or cat right now, and the military housing does not allow them anyway. So what to do? Well, we considered guinea pigs, snakes, mice, turtles, birds and fish. We settled on fish but they had to go home and ask their father first, and my grandson was very worried that his dad would say no.
On Sunday I got a text from my daughter asking me if I wanted to go and help pick out a fish for each kid, there’s two of them…lol…and so we did. The whole family went, even their auntie! We had a great time and the kids got to explore all the other animals again as well. Picking the final fish was the easy part! It was all the stuff that goes with them that was hard! So they are now the proud owners of two Betta fish and they are so happy! I told them if they took care of the fish, then I would get them a turtle, and work our way up to the hard stuff!
They put together the tanks and have found the perfect place to put them and they are so happy! So keep your options open and remember that the pet you get is part of the family and all considerations have to be given when adding to the unit. How old the kids are and their level of responsibility is part of it, but also where will you be in a year, two or five? What are your plans? Especially with dogs and cats. Will you be able to ship your pet if your duty station changes? Are you going to be buying a home in the future or are you going to rent or make use of military housing? Military housing is just like renting, they all have their own amenities and regulations, so pick carefully and with thought but pets are always a good way to help kids learn responsibility and commitment, and add just a little bit fun for all!