I love animals. Whenever a dog-owning friend comes over I beg them to bring their puppy. If we go to a house with a cat I'm automatically on the floor petting them. Despite all this abounding love for furry creatures, however, I haven't committed to a family pet. I don't know that I ever will, either. I mean, I'm already pretty committed to the care and feeding of two destructive little animals... my son and daughter. Can I handle a third? I asked moms to reveal the moment they knew they had found their family pet, because I need some guidance, y'all.
Something I thought was interesting about most of the answers given is the idea that lots of these moms had a moment of kismet when it came to incorporating a pet into their lives. It wasn't just, "Ho, hum, let's get a dog or a cat." Oh. This one will do nicely." There was often something about the dog or the cat they decided to bring into their lives that made them the perfect fit for their family. Just like the decision to have kids, moms are thoughtful when it comes to deciding when or if to bring a family pet into the fold.
So with that in mind, here's how the following moms found their forever pets:
"I had finally been convinced, after years of begging, to consider getting a dog. I was never an animal person, but I wanted to do it for my kids. We had our name on a few rescues, with specifications— puppy, family breed, etc. My husband got a call that a litter had been rescued from a bad situation. We were going to just 'look.' They had three of the cutest little white pups. The two females were super playful and running around. The little guy was just sitting and chilling. I was like, 'I want that one.' Next thing you know, I’m buying all the dog toys at Target, fancy dog beds, and a Dog Mom mug. He has been the BEST."
"When my son and daughter were little they wanted a dog. There were already two dogs in the house we shared with my parents, so a cat it was! When my brother and his husband found out we were getting the kids a kitten, they asked if they could get it for the kids. They asked what kind of kitten they wanted, and my daughter said, 'A princess kitty!' They showed up with a little golden ball of fluff, and said, 'Of all the kittens we saw, this one was the most princess.' My daughter loved her instantly. My son was skeptical (par for the course). The kitten hid under the couch. I told them to give her time. They waited, and after a little while, she came creeping out and started pouncing on things. She took absolutely no nonsense from the dogs. My daughter wanted to name her Princess. My brother's husband suggested Sassafras, because it's a cool, different name, but she's still 'Sassy.' There has never been, nor will there ever be, a more perfect cat."
"When I was growing up my parents went to get us a family dog. The puppy got in my stepdad's lap and curled up and went to sleep. She chose us."
"We knew we wanted a puppy and wrestled with choices and rescue dogs and finally there was a listing. My husband and I visited alone. There were nine puppies leaping and whimpering. Each was eager to get over the ledge to us, except one hid on the side staring at me. I picked her up and she tucked her head in my jacket and fell asleep. She looked a bit different than the others as she had a coppery glint on her ears. We visited again two weeks later with our daughter [who] sat on the floor just in a puppy puddle. She scooped one and cuddled it and it fell asleep and she said, 'This is the one.' Sure enough it was the same one with the copper markings. ... The farmer said, 'Ey, you don't choose them they choose you.' ... We own an oddities shop (and are generally quirky) so we really wanted to call her Ouija, but we were afraid it was too cliché and went with Barnum. She is a zany 9-month-old puppy and brings so much joy. She's just as quirky as the rest of us and really clever."
"We'd been casually looking for a new dog and after a few months made plans to meet a dog from a rescue. We prepped our kids the whole way there, explaining that this was just to see if the dog was good with kids, to see her personality, and that we were not, under any circumstances, taking it home that day. When we arrived I picked up the puppy, set her in my lap, and she immediately crawled out of my lap and into my 4-year-old son's lap and started licking his face and snuggling in. Within five minutes my son, daughter, and husband were all giving me puppy dog eyes and asking 'Can we keep her?' So, we took her home that night and she rode home in my son's lap the entire way. They've been best friends ever since."
"It was more like: 'When did my pet give me a signal that it was OK to have a baby?' I was a crazy bird lady mama before I was a human mom, and considering macaws live about 35 years I'm going to keep being a crazy bird mama until my kiddos are adults and out of the house!"
"Our beta fish, Blinky, is the most perfectest pet in the world. My kids were begging for a dog or a cat... I got the fish. I really play up the fish and pretend it has a personality and love for the family and my kids are little so they buy it. What they don't know is that I replace Blinky every few months. Technically we're on Blinky III right now and my kids have been none the wiser. Anyway, it's the perfect set up: they're happy and I don't have to do too much!"
"Intruder (our cat) inserted herself into our lives, just like her name implies. We live on a farm so we're used to having some barn cats that take shelter in the stables, but they're more or less feral and don't usually bother with us too much. We don't mind them. They keep the mice away. But one day I noticed this mangy looking thing creeping closer and closer to our house... until one day she walked in the open kitchen door and jumped up onto the counter and just stared at me. She's not a pretty girl, but you can tell she thinks she's gorgeous so she's really entitled. As time went on she came in more and more until we were like, 'I guess we have a cat now.' We regularly see other cats around the property, but Intruder has been upgraded to family pet. We love her."
"We looked around for a while to find a cat to adopt that would love our resident crazy cat lady/daughter. We found Luna at a shelter and within minutes she was asleep in our daughter's lap. We came back the next day to visit (they were reviewing our application), our daughter opened the cage, and Luna jumped out into her arms. Luna chose us, not the other way around."