Am I alone in this? I don’t want a pet 157



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The other day I had a nice lunch in a food court in Brisbane. Considering the heading above, you’re probably wondering if I have peculiar tastes in food, but I’m digressing.

I had slices of pork, apple sauce, yummy potato bake, peas and carrot. Simple and easy but cooked by someone else, just great. The young lady asked if I wanted pork crackle (I knew she meant pork crackling but politely let it go) and I told her I couldn’t stand it. She was delighted to hear that as she hated it too and had met very few like us.

(I’ve learned something new. Fires crackle – that’s a verb – but apparently it’s also a noun, as crackle is the pattern of minute cracks on surfaces like paintwork or varnish. Or the surface on roasted pork)

So I’m one of possibly only few who dislike pork crackling but, to get back to the dogs at last, am I similarly one of few who don’t particularly want to have a pet?

I grew up in suburban Sydney in a large family and we had the occasional dog. One ran away (or was abducted) never to be seen again; little Trixie was in the wrong place at the wrong time vis-à-vis a car in our back yard. That was a sad time and devastating for younger family members.

My husband and I have had cats. The one in Papua New Guinea vanished one day and we were told, by a local, ‘the locals have eaten it’. Living in New Zealand I had a cat foisted on me by a husband-daughters conspiracy and had to leave it behind when we came back to Australia.

I’ve resisted having another pet for 25 years now despite pleas from animal-loving daughters. I always ended up being the one to look after them and I don’t want to. I just don’t.

Now, look what’s happened. A daughter has had two little dogs, Scout and Sage, for nearly 10 years, and my husband and I have valiantly looked after them from time to time when she’s been away, and we have surprised ourselves by enjoying having them here.

Sage recently became ill and all alone I braved the vet with a most reluctant patient, but all was well.

The fur-kids keep us warm on cold nights (but only if daughter-Mummy is absent), they respond so well to attention and scratches, and they sleep away the day if nothing’s happening. And when it’s time for a walk, they raise the roof until we’re on the move. One barks at birds and cats and lizards that threaten our premises, especially the kookaburra that dares to perch on the high power pole nearby. If Scout could only reach that bird!

But it’s not unlike grandparenting in general. Lovely to have them for a while, lovely to hand them back. I still don’t want to own one, cat or dog.

Are there many out there like me, really quite happy to go through life without a pet? Or is it something you can’t imagine doing, living without a pet?

Fran Goodey

Frances Goodey is the mother of four daughters and the grandmother of two primary school age boys. With six brothers and two sisters, she was raised in Sydney and later lived and worked in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Brisbane. She is an avid reader and has had some small success with children's stories being published in New Zealand and Australia. Both she and her husband are retired, and her daughters live in Brisbane, Toowoomba, Sydney and Frankfurt.

  1. No…been there done that…I love the thought of having a cuddly pet but as soon as I remind myself of animal hair everywhere, scratchings around the place, a dirty cat/dog box tocsin out every day…walks to do when I don’t feel like it…the odd poo or wee in the house…me being kept awake by the wanna be mid night wanna be shuffling for attention…not to mention high vet bills and high food/worming/fleaing etc…No…I’m happy with my own company thanks…I’m quite content with only me making the messes and spending my money…haaaaaaaah!!! 🙂

    9 REPLY
    • If the one thing you remember about your previous pets are the hair they shed you missed out on a great relationship

    • No…I had beautiful relationships with all my pets over the years…but now is the time for me to care for myself…It takes a lot of energy to look after pets as it does children…that doesn’t mean we don’t find them special as pets are extensions of our own lives….I didn’t say that part was the one thing I remember…It is only one part of responsibility of having pets…alot of people don’t or can’t take care of their cleanliness/health etc so shouldn’t have pets…there is more to having a pet than loving it

    • Jane why would you have a sad life just because you don’t have a pet, I don’t have one & have a lovely life with family & friends.

      1 REPLY
      • i iI agree – I have had pets over the years – when my family were all living at home – I did the cleaning, feeding etc. Now I have nothing and am very happy with that – can go off as I feel like, stay away as long as I like, without having to pay for care or get family or neighbours to look in. We are all different, and I get my company from family and friends, and enjoy my alone time. Please be a little more tolerant to those who have a different slant on life!

    • I agree with Sylvia I think it takes a lot of work to look after a pet and I think a lot of people love animals for they full the gap of maybe children family ect and brings them to a happy place I feel like Sylivia I don’t need a pet to feel happy I have a lot of other things to keep my life family

    • From my point of view I couldn’t imagine our life with out my two little dogs We are happy to give them all the love and cuddles Certainly in no way a burden on us They are our family I would just hate to just have to concentrate on my self They need me and I certainly need them They show us unconditional love However if people find it to much for them Then for sure you should not own a pet Each to their own

    • Jane Fisher you don’t even know Sylvia Jennings so how can you say she has had a sad life…I would live a pet, miss having a pet but peoples circumstances don’t always allow a pet….this is what I dislike about this site people assuming things about people they don’t even know….

    • Your soo right Sue Kay, people’s circumstances change as we get older. We always had pets when the children were younger. I was a carer for my husband for many years until the day he passed away. Now i have medical problems of my own so now its time to take care of myself! As much as i would love to have a little dog i know it wouldnt be fair on an animal cos i wouldnt be able to take it for a walk & play with it the way you should. Most of my kids have pets so i get time to enjoy them. Not a nice comment to make Lyn Bradford when you dont know people’s circumstances & judge them!

  2. My pets are one of the joys of my life ( and my granddaughters). Since I inherited my daughters 2 cats & I have two young dogs it’s a fur-fest here and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Make me laugh everyday. Love them. (3 of 4)

    1 REPLY
  3. Been there done that. Love for people to have it. Nowadays my thinking is if you CAN’T GIVE the love, care and the attention they NOT be cruel just to please your ego that you have a pet.

  4. It’s good that she realises that she is not made to have a pet.i personally wouldn’t be without mine they light my day and comfort my night

  5. No, u not alone. I don’t have a dog, thank goodness, where I come from no dogs allowed, n its very clean no pooh smell, no stray dogs running wild on the street.

  6. Don’t need a dog or cat. Plenty wild birds. Sick to death of dogs everywhere cafes, c’van parks, down the shops, and the odd mess left thoughtfully for some poor soul to step on. What’s the obsession with them. leave them at home

    1 REPLY
    • That’s bloody human inconsideration. Poor pet. Grrrrrr.

  7. I have always had a dog. They give you unconditional love all they want is a cuddle. I don’t understand why some people don’t want them but each to his own. Also there are many people out there who shouldn’t have pets.

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