I Was Hoping to Keep My Pet Once Baby Came, But...Rebecca from Fosterhood
**Update: Author’s Published title was”I Was Hoping to Keep My Pet Once Baby Came, But…” other titles are edited.**
How pets will respond to a new baby is a common concern for first time parents. It’s taboo to speak of re-homing your pet, so I’m going to write the rest of this post in a whisper.
[Read in a whisper]
Henry, my pet tortoise for 13 years has co-habitated with all 3 of my former foster kids, but this time around I think I may need to find him a foster home. Mind you, he’s great with the babies. It’s the babies hurting him that I’m worried about.
Henry is a Sulcata tortoise (not a turtle) and is the size of a dinner plate, for now. Sulcata’s are desert animals meaning that they live on land, not in the water. In fact, Henry would actually drown in water. He’s clean, doesn’t smell, doesn’t bite, and being a tortoise he’s excluded from the salmonella scares. Nonetheless, I think for Henry’s sake, he’d be happier somewhere for a year or two until my 8 month and 4-month-old daughters can be taught how to be gentle and not throw his hay around.
Having a tortoise in New York City is a bad idea to begin with (I was misled when I got him) so he requires a lot of extra effort in order to maintain his outdoor time and his desire to roam and burrow. I’m from Florida so eventually he’ll end up down there with family. In the meantime, I need to find the right caretaker to foster him here in the city.
[Okay, you can stop whispering now]
The Humane Society has a nice “Introducing Your Pet and New Baby,” article but there’s not much out there on the decision to re-home your pet. My situation is a little different in that Henry’s life expectancy is 130+ years. A year or two apart is just a blip along his journey and let’s face it, he’s not going to miss me. Tortoises don’t get lonely. In fact, most tortoise advocates beg you not to get a “friend” for your tortoise as it creates competition and anxiety over food (and sex if it’s a male/female pairing).
So all this to say, of course I feel guilty about sending my “first baby” away for a second (and third). Everyone’s circumstances are unique though and if you have to make the decision to re-home your pet, I support you.
Also from Rebecca this month on Babble: