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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone. I'm at the age where I'm considering starting a family in the next few years (scary!) My partner and I want to bring up well balanced, compassionate children.

Many people argue that pets are an important part of a child's upbringing - they teach them responsibility and compassion. I myself have always had dogs and found that they have helped me through some rough times (apparently sensitive people form a close bond with animals and can be soothed by them).

However, I really don't want to buy hamsters, guinea pigs etc from pet shops knowing how many die just so some kid can have another toy to play with.

What do you lot think? If we had another dog I'd definately get a rescue one, but what about other pets? Surely I can't justify buying one even though it might benefit my child?
 

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To pet, for sure.

I agree that you shouldn't buy one and support a breeder. Rescuing is definetely the way to go. The good thing about rescue groups and shelters is that they get to know the dogs and their personalities before rehoming them, so you can talk with the shelter staff to make sure you're getting a submissive dog that will do great with kids and accepting of a baby.

The bigger question is whether to get a dog/cat before you have the kids or whether you should wait, and I don't know the answer to that. It's good that you're thinking of these things way ahead of time, so you have time to research ways to introduce pets to newborns to ensure it's a healthy relationship for everyone.
 

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Yep! I've adopted 5 gerbils, 3 rabbits, and 1 hamster from local shelters (NOT all at the same time). There were plenty of others I didn't adopt because I didn't have that much room. I've seen quite a few rats, guinea pigs, a potbellied pig, and a few mice and ferrets too.

And the animals I adopted have had great personalities! I have no clue why they were left at the shelter. If you have your heart set on a particular breed or color (I didn't), you might have to wait.

There are some on-line specialty boards, like the Rodent Fancy site, but in my experience their listed animals available for adoption are unlikely to be near you and a local general shelter will be more likely to have an animal available for adoption in your area. But they might be worth a try.
 

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If you know the right people, it's usually pretty easy to find someone giving small pets away for whatever reason. This probably happens more to me because I know a lot of people in 4-H who have like 10+ rabbits, but there's always someone out there who has a pet they can't keep and want to rehome.
 

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I have two rabbits. And the girl is a rescue I did myself, she was at a farm and was in absolutely horrible conditions, constantly pregnant..she had had 18 children but she ate them all (she didnt have enough to feed herself, let alone 18 children)..Well anyway I talked to the farmer and he didnt care about the rabbit so I brought her home =) And I love her =) She was pregnant btw. Im seeing her children on a family gathering on sunday actually..they live in my street. ANYWAY, it is easy to find small animal rescues =) And dogs are great too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for your advice everyone.

I had never thought of going to somewhere like the Blue Cross to find a homeless small pet! Strange considering I rescued my dog from a re-homing centre!

I guess I was just in the "habit" of buying them from pet stores, but I will do this no longer!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pescas View Post

I have two rabbits. And the girl is a rescue I did myself, she was at a farm and was in absolutely horrible conditions, constantly pregnant..she had had 18 children but she ate them all (she didnt have enough to feed herself, let alone 18 children)..Well anyway I talked to the farmer and he didnt care about the rabbit so I brought her home =) And I love her =) She was pregnant btw. Im seeing her children on a family gathering on sunday actually..they live in my street. ANYWAY, it is easy to find small animal rescues =) And dogs are great too!
I thought you were talking about the human girl you rescued the rabbits from... and that she ate her babies!
 

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Rescuing is a really good idea I would look in to that first. If that doesnt work for any reason though, there are also breeders for almost any small pet, they are much healthier usually than pet store animals. I have bought rats and gerbils from breeders and both were very healthy and lived for a pretty long time. However it does cost a little more for a pedigree rat lol. You can just do a search online and find a lot that way.
 

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just some thoughts if you go with a dog.

many dogs end up in shelters/rescues because of issues with children and in particular babies, and just because a dog does okay with children and babies in public away from the house, they can sometimes have a different attitude when it comes to home.

a dog can be raised to be child safe but an adult I was not sure of would require a lot of thought before combining with new baby 24/7.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeckyHew View Post

Many people argue that pets are an important part of a child's upbringing - they teach them responsibility and compassion.
While I am sure that having a pet does teach compassion & to some limited degree responsibility.....I also wanted to point out as someone who works as a rescue/adoption worker....that children can never really be expected to be responsible (soley) for the care of a pet. Adults should be prepared to be the primary or sole caregiver of any animal that they bring into their home for the remainder of that animals life. A very common reason for animals being rehomed is that the "kids lost intrest" and the parent is unwilling or unable to provide care for the animal. I am not saying YOU will do this(only that it's common) but it is something to consider before purchasing a pet
. I think it's kind of setting the animal up for failure to expect a child to be responsible for it's care....especially after the "novelty" wares off you know?

BeckyHew said:
However, I really don't want to buy hamsters, guinea pigs etc from pet shops knowing how many die just so some kid can have another toy to play with.
There are plenty of options for small animals. Believe it or not there are actually reputable breeders of small animals. Most reputable breeders also offer foster/rescue services to abandoned animals. I HIGHLY suggest rats. With proper care they can live up to 2-4 years. When raised properly from birth (not pet shop rats) their temperment is similar to a dog/puppy. They do bond to their people....they can be allowed to free roam in a (rat proofed) home/room.....trained to use a litter box exc. Most can be trained quickly to do tricks, boys can be neutered, girls can be spayed, experienced vets are more readily avaliable for rats (when compared to many other small pets) exc. They are very engaging pets and not at all like other "pocket pets" in regards to their temperment. Most people never really get the chance to meet a domestic rat....most people only have experience with mass produced ill tempered pet store rats that are bred to be feeders...not bred for health and temperment. The 2 can be as diffrent as night and day.
 

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Every pet Ive had in my 57 yrs have been rescued. As a child it would never have figured in our families minds to have any other. growing up with animals in the house was the most natural thing in the world and imprinted on my mind the importance of living with animals.

To be brought up with animals is the most lovely way to teach children to love and respect their pets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the replies everyone, I appreciate it.

The next problem is that my partner doesn't like animals of any kind in captvity - be it zoos, rescue centres or people's pets. The only exception is cats, which he is ok with because they can come and go as they please. I'm allergic to cats though.

I guess what I'm trying to say is - do you think the benefits of small pets for kids outweigh the fact that they are essentially in captivity?
 

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My response to this regarding dogs is that dogs were bred for human companionship. They were first bred to help hunt animals and to protect people. Dogs as we know them were never bred to be wild. Wolves yes and wild dogs such as the African Wild Dog yes but not domesticated dogs. Domesticated dogs are just that, domesticated. Could you imagine letting a Basset Hound or a Chihuahua or a Pug out into the wild and for it to survive? The only reason that around 300 different breeds of domesticated dog exist is because they were bred to be like that.

About cats. Not all cats are free to come and go as they please. They then run the danger of being run over or beaten to death with a spade (happen to one of our cats) or even having petrol chucked over them and burnt to death (a boy in my form filmed someone doing that to a cat. He though it was hilarious. B******d.)

I can understand about the zoos and people who have crocodiles etc for pets but for pets such as dogs and cats Im sorry but I dont agree. As for rescue centres, well does he just want these animals to be left alone to die? They cant fend for themselves and it was humans who put them in that position so shouldnt humans help them?

As for the benefits of pets for children: if I hadnt got my dogs then I would have committed suicide when I was 9 years old. I was diagnosed with severe depression and was considered suicidal due to problems that I have. We then got a dog after a year without one and within 3 months I was still depressed but not nearly as bad.
 

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I wouldnt consider having house pets as captivity.

If you plan to cage or crate them then yes they would be captive.

I have had budgies over the years and have always let them fly around the room with their cage door open during the day.

So it depends on the way you treat them.
 
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