WHEN I was eight-years-old, I got my first and only childhood pet.
A boxer dog my mother named PK after the racing driver.
And then I see other children, relatives and non-related children, without pets and wonder why? Surely even a guinea pig or a rabbit or a mouse, which don't requiring walking every day, would be good for a child's first pet?
I would have loved a pet at the age of five. I'm not sure why I didn't get one. Could have simply been a case of single-parent income, lack of cash for a pet.
Earlier this week, The Bulletin asked its readers via Facebook what was the best pet to get a five-year-old.
Here are some of their responses:
Deb Clifford - Guinea pig
Renee Jordan - A pillow pet!
Sandra-Lee Davie - None.
Chantal Booth - My own first pet was a dog at age 2, we were inseparable all of his life. My #1 child, we live on a farm so take your pick, but HIS pet was a cockatiel. #2 is very rough so he has to share the dogs and birds with his brother. Both now have their own ponies and they have to be involved in the care and maintenance of these animals. IT DEPENDS ON THE NATURE OF THE CHILD AND OF THE PARENTS! My kids are now nagging me to let them have a lizard.....but that can wait a while.
Sandi Brown - Hermit crabs
Chloe Robin - A rat
Lana Grayson - A worm
Tracey Sorensen - Whatever the Mum is willing to look after, feed, register, vaccinate, worm, flea protect, clean and pick up poop after once the 'fun and novelty' wears off the 5 year old and hubby.
Maria Finlay-Frenken - whatever the parents agree to
Ros Watson - Rock
Tanya Lee Woods - Hermit crabs. They are easy to look after and young kids are fascinated by them
Zara-Lee Goodson - Chickens as it also helps respecting animals for food (eggs) etc so not everything comes from the supermarket and they are great for food scarps waste, keeping bugs spiders etc out of your yard, and of it cockadoodledoos you can always say it ran away to the oven for last nights dinner
Tenille Sealy - Guinea pigs are the best small child's pet
Emma Currie - Chickens, my girls love them walking around the yard while they play and love collecting the eggs too.
Victoria Muller - My little girl is 10 now and I gave her a Lab when she was 5. She looks after him very well. Every morning she was outside letting him off and giving him breakfast (when he was a pup) and now, he is her best play mate. Ha ha, who else is going to eat her mud pies...
No, all jokes aside, he is a valued member of the family and to this day he is her dog and she feeds him every night. And it really didn't take much to "get her to look after him" has most people think... She loved him from the first moment she saw him and still does.
So, I am a parent who did get their child a pet and it is working out great. I don't know why so many are against it? Have they tried and ended up having to give the dog away? Don't know, but I can tell you first hand that it was the best thing I ever did.
Mel Davies - A Rat, the have a short lifespan. Great test to see if the child looks after it . Prior to getting an longer lifespan pet
Patricia Corry - None unless the parents are great with reinforcing responsibility or they are prepared to look after it
Patricia Corry - A cat is my answer I forgot to add
Krista Kridah Smillie - You are all so judgmental every 5 year old is different some are more mature and nurturing then others my daughter has 2 guinea pigs,turtles,and a dog and she feeds them and looks after them exceptionally well.. Things that she needs help with like cleaning out the tank or there cage I'm more than happy to help with because I made the decision of having animals as a family not solely for my child.. Yet she is the one who gets the most from it.. But thats what families do..All these comments about animals getting neglected and put to sleep is ridiculous everyone person is different and shouldn't be judged on their age..I'm sure the family will come together to look after what ever pet they choose to have..
Terry Ashton - A rock pet. Doesn't need feeding, waking, baths and can be neglected
Carlie Crouch - A duck
Debbie Maclean - My kids had pet chooks. Every arvo they would go feed them and collect the eggs. "Sophie" went to school for "show and tell" and laid an egg in class, which then started a whole new subject for the teacher. :))
Rachel Hunt - Silk worms!!
Tricia Lean-Goody - a male guinea pig
Nancy Datiras - A fish or hermit crab and 5 is a perfect age to start teaching responsibility as long as you start off small and and with something hardy
Sonia Lee Dobbs - Sea monkeys
Melissa Putman - A pillow pet
Jeremy Hogg - None. Because a five year old can't look after an animal. It will end up the responsibility of the parents, or at the pound. Then it will get euthanized because most people buy pets from shops/breeders instead of adopting the hundreds waiting for homes.
Nicolle Heikkinen - A fish
Renee Sleeman - A guinea pig.
Anja Zemlicoff - Jeremy couldn't be more correct. A pet is for life. It's irresponsible giving an animal to a child.
Jess Philpot - A fish.
Joanna Palmer - Baby Chicken
JR Lang - Jeremy and Anja are right.