Aideen Glynn’s weekly column as published in the Waterford News & Star Well! magazine
FOR years and years, since the children were very small they have been begging and begging for a pet. A dog preferably but they would settle for a cat if they had to. But we have always found an excuse, a reason not to fulfil their dreams, a justification for turning them down. With both of us working fulltime, the children in school, and the house empty for most of every day, it didn’t seem like a good plan whatsoever. With three children, a house and busy jobs, we never took their requests seriously if I’m honest. Now, all these years later, I wonder has the time come to at last take the plunge.
‘Maybe a furry friend would help heal the heart. Plus, it would keep the youngest from pining too. The departure of the eldest two affects us all and we need something to distract us, keep us busy and get us out of the house.’
The irony of the timing isn’t lost on me. As one child flies the nest altogether and the other embarks on a new independent life closer to home, the timing probably isn’t ideal. One would be forgiven for thinking I’m attempting to fill the void that will be within me once they are gone. One could be entirely correct, but I don’t think the acquisition of a pet is going to help that either. In fact I don’t think that anything can help that. Unfortunately, that is a new reality I just have to get used to.
But in the meantime, maybe a furry friend would help heal the heart. Plus, it would keep the youngest from pining too. The departure of the eldest two affects us all and we need something to distract us, keep us busy and get us out of the house.
The benefits to children growing up with a pet are enormous and well documented. Sadly, it’s a bit late for our three to reap those rewards but I’m sure there is a benefit to teenagers and parents also in having a pet. For a start, it means we would have to be more active. Instead of just muttering about going for walks, especially in inclement weather, we would actually have to do it. We would have an obligation to stretch the legs, exercise and get fresh air. A dog requires it. No question. To be fair, so do teenagers, but that’s a whole other story.
Not having grown up with animals, this whole owning a dog thingy is a bit of a mystery to me. I have no idea do they live inside or outside. Do they need special food and care and their own little house or will a little cosy basket downstairs do? In fact, do they come with instructions? Mind you, the children didn’t and I managed not to break them so how hard can it be?
I know the elder two will whinge and groan and give out to us for not doing this when they were young. But I don’t think there was enough of me to go around then. Having three little ones meant I was spread rather thin at the time. I couldn’t have done anything differently and to be honest I wouldn’t change a thing. Plus, now is my chance to spend a little more time with the youngest child. Together, he and I and the husband will bring our dog for a walk every evening. That’s if he’s ok with being seen with us. The teenager that is, not the husband, although that may also apply. Who knows? We shall take turns over who will clean him and who will do poo patrol and maybe that little dog, or larger dog will go some way to slightly filling the void left by the absent college students. Maybe not too. It could all be a whole pile of hard work. I have no idea. All advice and insight is welcome… shh Mum’s the Word.