14 October, 2009

Pets and mission

Have you thought about how missionary kids often cannot have pets? I do know several missionaries who do have pets, so perhaps I'll just talk about us. We haven't any pets. The main reason is the bi-country life we lead. Having a pet like a dog would make shifting countries more complicated. Probably a lot of grief too. I can't imagine how long we'd have to leave a dog or cat in quarantine if we were to own one and bring it on home assignment with us. Or even more difficulty, leaving a beloved pet for a year just sounds like too much heartache for us. It is difficult enough to leave a place you are established in and say goodbye to friends, let alone pets. My husband often says - "If only we could find a pet which had a 3-4 year life span..." Additionally our mission generally has its missionaries in rented accommodation, and rented accommodation (at least in Japan and Australia) is more difficult to find when you have a pet. If you're thinking about dogs, I think having a dog in Tokyo is pretty cruel to both owner and pet. No backyards so taking dog for a daily or twice daily walk is necessary, but it rains a third of the days in a year. Is freezing cold for several months and steaming hot a couple more. It all adds up to many days that I wouldn't be keen to do the daily exercise thing, though many do. Now what brings this on is that our boys are asking for a pet. Our house has a No Pet rule in the lease. We figure we could probably buy a couple of fish and not violate the rule. But the more I look into fish, the less easy-care and cheap they sound. It is not as if you can buy a fish bowl and plonk a couple of goldfish into it! Thought briefly about a worm farm...but we'll be away for several weeks in the summer and they'd probably all die in the Brisbane heat. Reptiles...salmonella is a risk. Anyone got some advice for us? What can we do? Maybe a pet rock?


Anonymous said...

Sea monkeys, if they still sell them.

Eggs come in packets at the toy shop, or at least they used to. I had them. From memory, the instructions went something along the lines of:

1. Get small see-through plastic container.
2. Put in sachet 1 to cleanse water and wait a day.
3. Put in eggs.
4. Put in scoops of food every so often (you get top-up food packets for a dollar or so at the toy store - and they last ages).
5. Wait until they hatch.

It's actually a lot of fun and it does work. Also, when they get older, they'll start laying eggs of their own and so on.

It's a bit more impersonal, I suppose, than other pets, as they all look the same, and have a short life cycle (though multiply enough so that you always have some).

Anonymous said...

Actually, just checked the website, and they say that "you can expect your tank to last 2 years"...even with reproduction counted, assumably.

There's all sorts of unecessary bits and bobs you can buy, but I just bought a starter pack (containing the sachets numbered from 1-3) from Toys R' Us on special for $6 (usually $14).

I'm sorely tempted to start it again!

Wendy said...

Thanks for the lead, Anika. By the way, are you missing your shampoo and conditioner yet? How desperate are you for them back?

Anonymous said...

I assumed that I'd left them at your place, but in no way am I desperate - they're just a traveling pack thing. :)

Thanks for asking...

Caroline said...

Hi Wendy,

For a pet with a 3-4 year life span, what about an older pet with (around) 3-4 years left? We got our dog from the Lost Dog's Home, and while she had a life expectancy of 6-9 years when we got her (that is if their estimation of her age was correct), you may be able to get an older one (if such an organisation exists in Japan). An older dog might require a bit less walking, too.

Or perhaps one from an older person who is not able to look after a pet anymore? I remember seeing a sign in a shop window from someone looking for a home for his mother's elderly cats, because she was moving into a nursing home.

I hope you can find something suitable. We didn't get a dog till our eldest son was 15, just over 2 years ago, because we were renting "no Pets" houses. Now we have one, she is a bit of a restriction on us (we're still renting so it reduces our options a bit if we have to move), but we are glad our boys have the experience of looking after a dog - it's been good for them.

Janet said...

Have you thought about a hermit crab? We've never had one last more than a few months ... we had a rat and he died of "old age" when he was just 2, perhaps mice have an even shorter life span? Just a thought!

Laetitia :-) said...

A few years ago we gave my father-in-law a couple of hermit crabs. They lasted 6 months to a year from memory.

They're pretty cool as pets - put one in your pocket and it goes to sleep.

Possibly the biggest problem with them is getting suitable empty shells slightly bigger than their current ones for them to move into as they grow and want a change of scenery.