Show before you tell.
Parents hear us talking…all the time, actually. They hear us tell them what we’ll do, when we’ll do it, how we’ll promise to do it forever and ever. Before you begin to tell your parents how you’ll take care of a pet, start by showing them. Show how you’ll keep your pet supplied with cool water by keeping the houseplants alive. Show how you’ll keep the pet’s area clean by keeping your own room tidy. Show them your commitment and passion for taking care of another living being by taking care of the ones in your home already. Changing the diaper of your baby sister won’t hurt you. Then again, my little sister didn’t wear diapers—one of the advantages of moosedom—so you may want to find another way to show you care (dishes, anyone?). Want to show your parents you’ll be patient with your pet? Be patient while they are making the decision about your new friend!
Do unto others.
If you’re hungry, you can go to the fridge, open it, grab yesterday’s leftovers and have lunch. Or, you can just ask your mom pretty-please to give you a helping of the “Broccoli-Acorn Puff” she’s making. Pets, on the other hand, balk at using can-openers and the like. Next time you’re really hungry or need to use the rest room, stop and think about what would happen if you couldn’t do those things for yourself. Take care of your pet the way you’d like to be taken care of (even if you don’t like broccoli!)
You want a Bengal Tiger; your parents prefer a Persian cat. You want a shark; your parents prefer guppies. You want a stork; your parents prefer a mockingbird. You want a boa constrictor; your parents look for a different kid to call their own (just kidding!). Be flexible in your choice of pets. It’s not the size of your new friend that matters, it’s the love you share with them for the Sake of Allah!
Visit a pet store, go to the library or search on-line with your parents guidance for more information about the animal you’re interested in. Ask questions to discover the ins and outs of their proper care and feeding. You may find you don’t want that pet rat after all once you know you have to feed him live crickets (speaking of tasty snacks…I’m off for lunch!). Whether you end up a proud (and responsible) pet owner or not, thank Allah for the blessings of being one of His glorious creations!
Dear Mazzin the Moose,
I want a pet but my parents don’t think I can take care of one. Help!
Is that lunch I smell? Oops, nope. It’s cat food, not moose food—although my mom’s “Pondfish Surprise” does taste suspiciously like Purina. Good thing Allah warns us not to have doubts about people or I’d have to skip dinner! (Qur’an Check! 49:12)
All this talk about food is making my tummy grumble. Animals, like people, need to eat. But they also need affection, companionship, warm shelter, fresh water and a place to go to the potty. (Ahem…while those of us in the kingdom of animals appreciate the nice bathrooms in your houses, we prefer something a bit…more open, you know? My dad gets his antlers ruffled when someone makes a mess on his pine-needle throw rug; imagine your parents’ attachment to their clean carpets!)
Yep, having a furry, scaly or feathery fiend isn’t all purring, bubbles and chirping. It’s hard, hard work (and since I am one of those afore mentioned pals, I should know!). Muslims are responsible for treating Allah’s creation with respect.
Maybe if you treat your parents’ concerns the same way, you’ll be purring, bubbling and chirping in no time (I don’t advise mooing, however, because cows don’t make good house pets. I used to have one before he jumped over the moon after the dish ran away with the spoon!)
Wa Alaikum As-Salaam,
Mazzin T. Moose