Monday, August 15, 2016

Taking a Break from Owning School Pets?

This past school year, and 2016 specifically, has not been good to my house's pet population. One of our chinchillas died in November 2015. Chocolate the skinny pig died in the first quarter of 2016. Ten days after I posted this obituary ...
Vanilla, Chocolate's buddy, died suddenly.

My house isn't exactly empty. I still have one skinny pig (Owen), one rabbit (Dolly), one chinchilla (Chilli) and one budgie (Arctic). However, there are no pets scheduled to return to school in September. I'm not sure how I feel about this.

After Max, my previous "school skinny pig" died, I "took a break" (albeit a short one) from having a school pet. I didn't want to rush right into seeking and obtaining another pet. I know the students missed having an animal in the library. When Chocolate died, many adults and children inquired about whether or not I'd get a "friend" for Vanilla so he wouldn't be lonely. Vanilla seemed fine on his own, and he had piggy pals at my house he'd visit on the weekends, so I didn't worry about finding a new pet to join the herd.

This led me to reflect on the ability to "take breaks" from other activities, and if that's a good move.

My #oneword2016 goal was "continue". I did continue to work on my previous personal, professional, and spiritual goals, for most of the school year, but I seriously slacked off this summer.

I took a break from exercising regularly after my class at the neighbourhood community centre ended in June - I don't own a scale but I suspect that I gained back a lot of the weight I lost.

I took a break from personal reading - mostly because I didn't find anything I was keen to dive into. I still need to read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Report, but I know that it will be a challenging and emotionally draining effort.

I took a break from my research project because I didn't have time to properly write the contract for my academic assistant. Once the financial details get settled, I'm eager to get this ball rolling again. It's been too long brewing - since 2010! I'm going to need to redo all my literature review materials because so much more has been written on the topic since I last collected peer-reviewed articles.

I took a break from using any electronic devices for a week while I was in Ocean City, Maryland. It was pleasant spending time away from the screens enjoying the beach, but I did have several time-sensitive emails I had to hurry and answer once I returned.

This selfie was not taken with a cell phone!

My daughter's tootsies and my awesome pedi in the sand

I don't think pet ownership necessarily falls into the same categories as these - although reading, exercising, avoiding computers and completing projects are good for nurturing happiness and positive mental health, traits also linked to having companion animals. However, owning a pet (and bringing it to school) involves more people and has more costs - I have to ask permission from my administration before bringing any new creature in the building. Obtaining most of my pets have been times when "the moment was right", like finding two skinny pigs for free with their cage. I'll see what happens when I return to school without my cage and see where it goes from there.

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