Those of you who know me will be aware that I’m not terribly brave when it comes to animals. If truth be told, I’m a complete and utter wimp!
Now, I’d like nothing more than to regale you with some terribly alarming account of how I almost lost a limb, during a particularly ferocious canine attack. Or better still, describe in glorious technicolour the wounds I sustained (during a prolonged altercation with a Canadian Lynx) whilst visiting Alaska. But alas, as with most phobias, there would appear to be no tangible reason for my fear. If I’m completely honest though, I suspect that it has something to do with my slightly controlling nature and the fact that I’m simply no good at dealing with unpredictability.
You’ve heard of the old adage ‘Never work with animals or children’? Well, I found myself contemplating how it was that I had managed to spend the last 20+ years working closely with children, whilst avoiding animals at all costs – a truly curious state of affairs!
Having never owned a pet myself, I decided to find out a little bit more about what might be involved. Rather ironically, I decided to focus upon what a dog might need (they are meant to be ‘man’s best friend’ after all) and good old Google obliged by providing the following (albeit rather simplified) list:
So, not all that different from the needs of children then – although nurturing / educating might be a slightly better description than ‘training’, assuming that you’d like to avoid a call from social services!
I had also imagined that owners might be required to hold a licence for their pets, and I learned that this was indeed the case, for certain types of exotic bird and domestic-wild hybrid animals. Fair enough.
So, why don’t you need a licence for raising children then? After all, herein lies great responsibility and yet anyone (who is physically capable of producing a child) is free to go ahead and do just that.
When you consider just how challenging and complex a task the raising of a child can be, it’s a minor miracle that there are no assessments to pass (or qualifications to gain) beforehand. You can’t (for example) jump into a car and drive on a public road without first proving that you can handle a car safely, and that you are also familiar with the Highway Code. Nor can you walk into someone else’s home and re-wire their house for them without providing the necessary documentation. And yet you can walk straight out of the maternity ward and into (the veritable minefield that is) the world of parenting, and no-one bats an eyelid.
I, for one, wish that I had been better prepared; it’s been one heck of a learning curve so far!