Alexandra Malecki wrote:I don't consider myself to be a pet-person. I have had chickens for ~4yrs and I liked that they were outside and they were funny to watch but they always made me a little jumpy. I always wanted to get to the point where I could feed mealworms to the chickens from an un-gloved hand but I just couldn't do it! I did my part to make their lives as good as I could, organic feed, fresh veg as much as possible (including getting 'damaged' boxes of produce from the local organic produce store). We gave away the chickens when we moved and I'm not 100% sure I want to take care of chickens again. Were they really living their best lives? They contributed to my system but it was extra work to sell the eggs since we transitioned to being vegan while we had them. I did enjoy gifting the eggs.
I grew up in urban/suburban settings. I didn't grow up with pets. Part of me thinks that animals should live their best lives, that doesn't involve living in a house, domesticated and eating pelleted or canned food. I also don't feel a need to pet or cuddle a pet. I'm allergic to dander and the idea of getting hair or odor on me isn't enticing. I definitely don't like getting licked or a lot of barking. My in-laws have a little dog that barks a lot and then they yell back at the dog, it drives me nuts. It seems like they're reinforcing undesired behavior but I have very limited knowledge about cats or dogs.
Funny enough, I work in an unusual office environment where dogs are allowed and everyone else seems to get all mushy around dogs and I cannot relate. It's also a major distraction that my office mates seem to be totally ok with. I don't raise an alarm because I suspect I'm the minority plus it does give people joy.
I plan to live in a rural setting one day and I entertain/like the idea of having a dog for protection. However, perhaps unexpectedly, I've been recently considering getting a pet to help my suburban garden with rats and raccoons so I've been thinking about whether or not I'd be a good pet owner. I suppose, the crux of this is that I see pets as a part of a system with a purpose/contribution and not necessarily as a friend to lend non-verbal emotional support. So, in getting a pet to protect the garden, my hope would be that it gets to live primarily outside but I don't see anyone else getting a pet to live outside so am I thinking about this all wrong?
Has anyone been a non-pet-person turned pet-person with helpful feedback? I have to say that I feel unpopular in sharing this but I've tried to bring this up to people I know and it's always super uncomfortable and I don't get any helpful feedback.
Heather said, "livestock that are perfectly content to live in their own space, even if they are happy to see you show up with treats or get a scratch now and then.
Anne Miller wrote:I would love to hear back from Alexandra about what decision was made.
You may want to consider visiting animal/dog rescues in your area every once in a while, maybe volunteer or help out with one-off special events. If it seems to work out well for you, then consider regularly volunteering and/or taking on a specific responsibility around the animals you want to associate with.
Alexandra Malecki wrote:I wonder if there's a way of testing the waters first and getting a better idea of what this commitment entails.