The dog and the chameleon poet
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I have never had any desire to 'own' a dog, or indeed, any 'pet'. This does not mean that I do not entertain the possibility of a companionate relationship between dog and human, or that I cannot see the possible value to each in such a relationship, but four children seemed more than enough to cope with. My children were given as great a measure of freedom and choice as could be afforded them without danger to themselves - a difficult line to determine and tread. When they begged for a pet, I eventually capitulated and two mice were purchased, with run and cage and wheel, and with the assurance that they were both female. I felt uncomfortable, but told myself there would be benefits to my children (I had my doubts about the mice) in learning to care and take responsibility for the care of another being. Given my abhorrence of caging, the mice were given plenty of 'controlled' rein/reign in the house which seemed to work okay - okay that was until the baby mice came along. (I discovered, after the fact obviously, that sexing mice accurately is notoriously difficult and unreliable.) The mice kittens generated enormous excitement and great delight. Then the neighbouring children came to visit.