Mom, Can I Have a Pet?



Henry has Mudge. Arthur has Pal. Dora has Boots. Even Minnie and Mickey have Figoro. Pets are constantly appearing before our little ones in books, stories, and movies. It is only a matter of time before the big question is asked. “Mom, can I have a pet?”

Now it doesn’t matter if you already have a pet that was a part of your family from before they were born. You could have a house full of pets, and it still wouldn’t matter. No offense, furbabies, but you belong to mom and dad. Children want the experience of choosing their very own animal to love and name and call their own. So I guess, the bigger question is “Are you ready to say yes, mom?” Here are some things to consider before you do.

Pros and Cons for Your Family

This is an important step before embarking on the journey to pet finding. Making a pros and cons list uniquely to you and your family’s situation will help you decide if now is the right time for the type of pet you are considering. We recently agreed to let our eight year old daughter adopt her own kitten. Some of the pros on our list were fostering responsibility and encouraging our child’s natural empathy towards living things. We are very much a rescue type family and loved the idea of giving a forever home to a kitten in need when we finally said yes to her request for a cat.

L and her new kitten, Snuggles.


As I mentioned earlier, the lesson of responsibility was very much a pro for our family’s decision. Leading up to the big day, we had our daughter prove her responsibility by feeding our dog and doing various other chores around the house. We let her know that if she felt she was old enough to have her own pet, part of that experience is also taking care of the pet’s basic needs. Learning to be responsible for an animal is a perfect way to hone in on this skill and hopefully then carry it over to their life at school and extracurricular activities.


Making sure that all family members realize what a commitment it is to be a pet owner. It is not a temporary play thing, but rather an animal that will depend on you for the rest of his or her life. Even though your child will help in taking care of the pet, let’s be real – mom and dad will definitely have a major part in the animal’s welfare and let’s not forget their expenses! Is this a realistic option for everyone? Is anyone possibly allergic? Any chance you will be moving in the upcoming year? Be sure that logistically you can take care of this pet before making the commitment. Remember, it is better to say no now than to face the heartbreak of having to give up a newly loved pet due to overlooked circumstances. It would not be fair to neither the pet nor your child.

The Special Relationship Between Animals & Children

With all other things to take into consideration, one important factor is that your child will only be a child once. There is a very special bond between children and animals. Giving this experience to your child is something they will always remember. One of my most cherished memories from childhood is when our family cat gave birth to kittens. My mom allowed both me and my best friend to choose one to keep. That moment in my childhood was the equivalent to winning the lottery or a trip to Disney World. Some of the magic and wonderment that animals provide for children tends to disappear as we grow older and busier. I wanted to say yes to this special gift at this very special phase in life.

Yours truly and a cherished childhood memory.

Hopefully you will find this list helpful when your child inevitably asks “Mom, can I have a pet?” Feel free to share your own tips for deciding on the answer.

Previous articleThe Distracted Infraction: Get Off Your Phone
Next articleThe What If? Are you prepared?
Shannon has lived in Fairfield County, CT for most of her life and currently lives in Monroe. She has a daughter L (September, 2008) and a son B (May, 2012). Shannon balances being a wife and mom with working 186 days out of the year as a special education teacher. Thank goodness for vacations, summer break, and snow days! You can be sure that she fills those days with as many amazing activities and outings that she can think of to make up for the time that she is at work. In a distant life, way before babies, Shannon was an aspiring actress and musician. You can sometimes still find her leading sing-a-longs with her guitar at the kids’ playgroups or at her daughter’s school.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here