5 reasons every tween girl needs a pet

February 8, 2012 in lessons for moms,pets for kids

Read how I changed from a pet avoider to a pet enthusiast in part 1.

A garage sale was the impetus for the first pets. The neighbor lady and her teenage daughters told us what great pets guinea pigs made. They described how their girls would snuggle with the pigs while watching TV. Bird’s eyes got big. Bug’s smile grew wide. The begging game began.

Remembering by childhood, I was convinced that a pet was a good choice for our stage of life. Here’s my list of 5 reasons every tween girl needs a pet.
  1. When she comes in the door, crying and yelling that you “don’t understand” a pet is a safe “person” to turn to. Little girls believe that pets understand, that snuggling one is the perfect form of comfort (no risk of mom giving the wrong advice). Perfect therapy. You can save your listening ear and motherly advice for a more receptive moment. 
  2. If you make her, she will take care of her pet. Learning responsibility is good. 
  3. Tween girls always find things to obsess about. The idea of obsessing over a pet: reading every book they can find, building fabulous forts for, buying shirts with pictures of Rover, cooking treats for and general non-stop chatter about how great a pet is, well, it’s preferable to obsessing over the latest boy band or constant begging to get an account on Facebook. 
  4. Your house becomes an even better place to hang out. Other tween girls want pets too. And having a pets to share, especially cute, little ones will make other little girls ask if the play date can be at your house. 
  5. See the lump under Bird’s shirt? That’s
    the pig. This is how she does her reading!
  6. You have a new tool for discipline. You can make your girl save money to buy the pet. You can make rules about finishing homework before holding a favorite pet. You can take away pet snuggling privileges (having a pet is a privilege…make sure she knows this from the start) when she fails to follow other rules. 

 I did my research and decided Guinea pigs might be the way to go. Inexpensive, snuggly, and with life span of 3-5 years, guinea pigs sleep sporadically all the time. So they are awake to play with during the day; they are quiet (no squeaking wheel) and they don’t smell unless no one tends to their cage. And, it isn’t that hard to find someone to care for guinea pigs when you go on a trip. It took a while, but my husband eventually joined me in deciding a pet was a good idea. He contacted a guinea pig (aka cavy) breeder. He brought home two 4-week pigs in August as a surprise for the girls. They had the money saved because they has been hoping we would take them to the store to buy a pig. The girls declared their parents’ change of heart about pets to be a miracle.

A visiting toddler inspects Buster. 
Four months later we acquired another pet. Before the pigs, the only pet I considered was another parrot, but I could not justify the cost of the parrot again. So I prayed that God would give me a free one. I forgot that prayer until recently. In the seven years since leaving behind my parrot, I had not met even one parrot owner.

New neighbors moved next door in August. The girls met their parrot when the little green guy was sitting in the screened window in August yelling at them at “Come here. Come here.” The neighbors, expecting a new military assignment in a year and a new baby in six months were praying for a new home for Buster. They found one. Next door. God changed my husband’s heart again and answered my prayer for a free parrot.

And now when other kids come over, they sit in circles, passing pets around and giggling. The pets have added more chores to the daily and weekly routine. But it’s worth it.

Do you have pets? I would love if you would share why or why not?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Cassi Brightforest February 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Your post is so true. Our daughter’s best friend is her cat Frankenstein. They are perfect for each other.

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