I grew up with two dogs, one of which was mine. A white standard poodle, he was full of beans, loyal and incredibly gentle. I walked him every morning and evening, fed him, slept with him and took complete care of him. He was a wonderful friend to me and he made my childhood much much better and undoubtedly increased my emotional depth and health.
In our household we used to have three cats, five hamsters, two turtles and 50 fish. The challenge for me was that coming home after work and caring for four children and my husband, I had no emotional bandwidth left to share with our pets. The children are busy with school, computers, and hockey and although they liked the pets, they did not spend a significant amount of time with them.
As a result, I have found an attentive caregiver for Bob, Millhouse and Bart and a loving home for Phineus, Skittles and Scrambles where they get a ton of attention. Snappy and Yertl are dead, leaving us with 50 un-named fish.
Perhaps in time when the children have flown the coop I will once again have the emotional bandwidth to befriend another dog to whom I can give the necessary attention he or she deserves and requires. In the meantime, I am relieved to have a critter-less household.