Well, I've caved in. I've been nagged at, pleaded with, tortured and bribed (well, not tortured exactly...) We're going to get another pet! But I'm not really sure which one, and I'm also pretty sure we're not suitable for another pet. Here's a quick rundown of our house/things about pets-
- We have two Malamutes. They're medium sized, active dogs, but our ones are very well trained (they were selected as assistant dogs, and when the owner moved, were put up for adoption) and don't bark much, but I'm concerned that a tiny hamster might be too much, or their tails could knock a cat flying.
- We have a greyhound. He's very old, a retired racing dog, and has the beginnings of a joint problem, which limits his running, though won't get any worse than not being able to run, or needing to rest a lot, not meaning he will be paralysed/practically paralysed. He's a tame little thing who's never barked in his life and loves relaxing.
- We live in Stockholm, Sweden. Which means it can get very cold (I've seen -24 in the day, but around -14 in the day, -17 at night for winter is normal) and very snowy. For this reason, we couldn't have an outdoor pet, though we'd be able to have indoor rabbits, guinea pigs, cats etc;
- We go on holiday to Lapland (the Finnish area), where I come from, every winter for 2wks, and every summer for 3wks, going for 5dys in Easter.
- I work part time, my husband works at home. This means someone is always at home, and DH often walks the dogs, takes them to the park or to the sea area, and would be able to play with the pets. However, we are primarily looking for a pet for the kids, for instance a hamster, so this might not be necessary, but I know DH (and though he won't admit it for his life), he'd love to have a rabbit to pet and play with, or two rats to look after, in the day (we look after our friends pets occasionally- he's never happier).
- We own a 'country cottage'. This is very common in Sweden, some statistics say as much as 80% have them, because land is so cheap. We go there occasionally, but it is primarily a place where my kids like going for birthday treats, and when they have friends for a sleepover, they all go down there. It's very common to do that here, and DH or I go, one of us is always home with the other kids, or if the other kids are all going, one of us is still home.
We have at least one person home all day normally, apart from 5wks 5dys of the year. In theory, the pet/s could go with us, but we go by plane, so this is unlikely. I know someone who keeps pets, and they'd be willing to look after them. The 3wks in summer is split up, we come home every 1wk (my job isn't ordinary, and requires this), with a gap of about five days inbetween. Sometimes, DH stays behind for his work.
Are we suitable for pets? We normally have someone home all the time, but it and therefore being nocturnal or not doesn't matter. We have three well behaved dogs, who rarely, if ever, bark, but it would be best if the animal could be on a table (like a hamster cage, rat cage etc; instead of a rabbit hutch). We live in a cold climate, so no cats (though our dogs have all be listed as suitable for cats, and have been with cats since the adoption) unless they were indoors- is that cruel? We don't mind if the animal is warm or cold blooded, but has to be interactive. All our children have dealt with pets before, and when we had a hamster, our three year was involved, but to the limit of feeding while other person is holding, or petting when other person is holding- or racing the hamster in its ball etc; and we made sure the hamster was safe.
How about a budgie they are great fun for children, they can learn tricks and learn how to speak. They are easy to keep, cages are quick to clean and there is no grooming. The food is cheap. They will fly away from the dogs so there would be no worry of them being caught by the dogs.
Rats? I knew someone who had rats, they were trained to stand or come on command, knew their name and did tricks, like running across ropes and doing obstacle courses. They loved every minute of it and I used to want two or three. Then I had DD and I kinda forgot. Might get them... Are females and males different? I've heard males are smellier but calmer and females are more playful?
Rats are ace but I would be worried having a free range rat with a greyhound, what with them being trained to chase after small furry things. Is the dog kept downstairs or anything like that? How easy would it be to keep them apart?
My answer would be nothing small and furry, you have 3 dogs who are known for their prey drive, I wouldn't want to risk it as these dogs can destroy a cage and eat the said furry in seconds. Perhaps a reptile, like a gecko or bearded dragon.
Another vote for Rats, they are one of the best small furry pet to have IMHO, they are very intelligent and contrary to popular belief are also very clean and can be trained to go to toilet in one area of their cage, which makes it much easier to clean, on the downside however if th cage isn't cleaned out (including washing the bottom of the cage ) on a regular basis they can smell.
When I had my two rats I would carry them around my flat in my pocket or on my shoulder, they would also come when I called their name :-)