I have a son and a daughter, as well as a cat and a dog (no partridge and fuck the pear tree). I feed, clothe, care, and even love them all, though, in truth, the animals know I don’t love them as much as the children. It’s a shame, really, especially for the dog, Frankie, who I rescued from the pound long before JP was a screaming, pooping, twinkle in anyone’s eye.
The years since I have become a father haven’t been easy on ole Frank, and not just because JP has done everything he could to yank the mutt’s tail clean off. I simply have less love to give him now that there are other, more complex beings in my life. I don’t neglect him–it’s just that he’s gone from the proto-baby to the pet.
Moral of that story is simple (are you listening, the entire under-30 population of Park Slope?): It’s probably best not to get a pet as a pre-proxy for a youngster. Not that dogs and cats lack for charm, but that itch you’re feeling is likely for offspring and not animals.
Regardless, whatever you do, don’t do this:
The trouble began, Theresa Smith said, shortly after she bought a hamster for her 9-year-old son. A few months later, the hamster, Princess Stephanie, was playing in its exercise ball on the floor of their apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn, when an older son, who is 25, flew into a rage.
“He kicked it deliberately, the ball flew across the room, the hamster flew out of the ball, and it died,” Ms. Smith said. After he had calmed down, the older son felt terrible, she said.
“He was very remorseful,” Ms. Smith said. “He brought my son three more hamsters.”
This act of contrition, however, only angered Ms. Smith’s daughter Monique, Theresa Smith said. Monique picked up the biggest of the three hamsters, Sweetie, “took it out of the cage, and she slammed it on the floor,” Theresa Smith said. “It died on impact.”