Wherever I go lately, there seems to be a new trend. Well at least new to me. Puppies. The real canine waggy tailed variety. The ones that grow into much larger and growlier things that require lots of walking and feeding.
Now there are not many babies at any one time at the school where the boys go to school. It is a small village school and a village with a large number of retired people at that, so there may be one or two babies each school year, but rarely more than that.
When a baby does arrive, parent and baby does get rather a lot of fuss for a while as you would expect. Everyone loves a baby, especially when they are newborn and for several weeks, that parent and baby are easily recognisable by the crowd of worshippers; adult and child, who surround them wherever they slowly go.
But in the absence of babies, there seems to have been an influx of puppies. The proud 'parents' march in through the gates, cradling their little babies in their arms and I think that they create more fuss than babies do. Crowds of people horde around them cooing and aahing and the cries of jealous children can be heard all around; "Mummy can we have a puppy, pleeeaaassse!"
Personally, I am fairly indifferent to dogs. I do like some of them, some are cute, but I have never owned or lived with one and so that makes me a little wary of them. Add to that a fairly acute allergy to fur, so dogs or any pets for that matter, have not been top of my priority list.
Dogs are wonderful creatures. They are loyal and can be affectionate. If they are well-trained, they can be perfect pets to have around children and I can see the health benefits to having a dog too. All that walking and exercise on a daily basis would be brilliant.
However, and for me it is a huge however, dogs are for life and not for fitness! Those cute little puppies are more demanding than babies for the first few weeks and after that grow very quickly. The walking that would be brilliant, has to be done everyday, even on those days when it is cold and dark and rainy.
Whenever we have considered the option when the children have pleaded, we have thought about the restrictions it would impose. Yes, you can take a dog to most places these days, but there still are places where they are not allowed and this needs consideration if like us, you go out and about a lot.
Then there is the cost. We have to live on a fairly tight budget and the cost of feeding and looking after a dog is a big commitment without considering the cost of vets bills or insurance.
Fortunately for us, the boys have moved on from wanting a dog. About three and a half years ago, they were desperate and as I was pregnant at the time, we told them that they were having a baby brother or sister instead. Thankfully, they haven't asked again since as I certainly can't offer them another sibling. Now they want a bearded dragon instead.
That would make for an interesting addition to the school playground, wouldn't it?