The Perfect Present Predicament

Our nine-year old wants a rat for Christmas.  Given our recent struggles with establishing boundaries for the rodents that inhabit our neighborhood, my husband, Cap’n Firepants, is loathe to grant this wish.  He offered to give her a dead rat, but she has made it clear that this would not fulfill the requirements she expects from a pet.

Dimples’ Perfect Friend has a pet rat.  Technically, she has two, since she and her brother each have one, and the rats share the same quarters (apparently one should not own just one rat, as it can get lonely).  You might question how Perfect Friend can maintain that moniker given her imperfect pet choice.  However, I have no problem with a rat that is not sneaking around my habitation or dying inside the walls.

Dimples has done everything right in trying to achieve her pet rat goal.  She acquired several books on rats, studiously read them, and used Post-It notes to mark all of the applicable passages.  She can tell you anything about rats.  Except how to keep them out of our house.

Cap’n Firepants had a brilliant idea.  He suggested that Perfect Friend spend the night, bringing along her Perfect Rat.  You might think he was being quite open-minded.  However, he was hoping, I think, that Dimples would realize a rat is not an ideal pet in a household with two nervous dogs – one of whom paces and pants heavily whenever something out of the ordinary occurs, and the other of whom who attempts to rip the heads off any beasts that have the bad luck of falling within his path.

Perfect Friend brought Perfect Rat in his traveling cage, and set him up in Dimples’ room.  The dogs had no clue Perfect Rat was in the house.  In retrospect, that should have been no surprise, seeing as how they have been absolutely no help in deterring any of the other rodents who have breached our heavily fortified enemy lines.  But the Cap’n still had a backup plan.  Knowing that rats are nocturnal, he was certain that Dimples would go crazy trying to sleep with Perfect Rat around.

No such luck.  Not a creature stirred that night – not even the rat, according to Dimples.  So, the Cap’n had to finally confess to Dimples the one reason no rat would ever be a pet in the Firepants household.  “It’s the tail,” he said.  “I just can’t get over the tail.”

Dimples, who has her heart set on a rat (no hamster, gerbil, or guinea pig will do) and the Cap’n, who has his heart set against it, are at an impasse.

I know how Dimples feels, as I was in a similar situation last Christmas, hoping for a bulldog puppy under the tree.  No other gift, no matter how great, would substitute.  It wasn’t until the day after Christmas, however, when we made a family trip to the pet store to get Dimples a fish, that Cap’n Firepants relented, and helped to make my Christmas wish come true.

Last Year's Perfect Present - Wonderbutt

Dimples is probably hoping for a repeat of last year’s post-Christmas pet presentation.  There’s one major difference, though.

Wonderbutt Has No Tail.


Posted on December 23, 2011, in Cap'n Firepants, Children, Dimples, Dogs, Family, Humor, Parenting, Wonderbutt and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. There ARE rats with no tails.

    I’m with Dimples on this one. Hamsters and gerbils are far more likely to bite her, and they would rather be left alone. A rat (and you should get two) is social, tends to be super friendly and smart.

    When we had rats, the kids’ room was a no-free-roaming-pet area. No cats and dogs were allowed, so we had no problems.

  2. Could a well-meaning friend give a rat as a gift :)?

  3. My cousin had a rat… automatically skyrocketed her into ‘coolest cousin’ position, just for having the coolest pet.
    My suggestion to dimples is that she switch her goal (outwardly) to corn snake… I bet Captain firepants will change his tune about rat-tails after hearing what corn snakes (basically a head and one giant rat-tail) eat. It does sound like she’s acutally intending on being a responsible rat-owner, though… good on her for doing the research!

    • Actually, I think Dimples was actually employing that strategy at first. You see, she started out wanting a cat. When the Cap’n said no way, she brought up the rat proposition, possibly hoping that would lead to a cat affirmative. But then she started researching the rat, and realized they really do make good pets. Since Dimples is scared to death of rats, I think Firepants would see through that in a heartbeat.

  4. I have made it clear to my children that no rats and no snakes are entering our house. Never ever ever. The guinea pigs, dogs, cats, and fish that we have had will have to suffice. That is until people clean their rooms for the gecko and turtle cages.

    Merry Christmas and I hope it all works out.

  5. Wonderbutt is really growing on me…… maybe i need to adopt a junior wonderbutt…

  6. LOL – Wonderbutt! Thanks for the laugh! 🙂

  7. Go for the tortoise. They hibernate!!

  8. As soon as he figures it out, Wonderbutt would have a great friend to chase around the house. I think Dimples should get the rat.

  9. Wow, catch-22.
    good luck with this one!

    • Actually, this has worked out quite nicely for me, as I can keep telling Dimples I would let her get the rat if only the Cap’n wasn’t so dead set against it. For once, I get to look like the nice guy.

  10. “In retrospect, that should have been no surprise, seeing as how they have been absolutely no help in deterring any of the other rodents who have breached our heavily fortified enemy lines.”

    I literally laughed out loud.

  11. Good luck. My daughter wanted a snake and I could never permit it. I wanted to and then I would think about it getting out of its cage. I then would have had to move and that seemed a little extreme. We had turtles and geckos but never the reptile called snake.

    • I wouldn’t have a problem with a snake except for the feedings – and the smelliness. I don’t think that issue will come up, though, as both Dimples and the Cap’n are not overly fond of snakes.

  12. Well, good luck. I would never want a rat or a snake. I’m a cat and dog person. My bf had rats when he was a kid and said they were nice except for the last one that enjoyed pooping on his hand every time he picked it up.

  13. Don’t you just love it when dad is the heavy?

  14. Rats are illegal in Alberta (because we don’t have wild ones) so it’s moot point here. Perhaps you should do some reading up on bubonic plague with dimples. That might help settle the issue.

  15. Tall person kept rats when he was a boy. He says they are great pets!! 🙂

  16. Good luck and Merry Christmas!

  17. The tails are freaky!!! I would never allow the kids to own a rat, I don’t do well with rodents- even if they are in a cage. Isn’t Wonderbutt and Mr. PIB enough??? 🙂

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