I've been wanting a dog for a long time. But dogs require training, and they chew on things, and shed, and make your house stinky. They make it hard when visitors come and they run into the street and end up dead. I know all this, yet I am a sucker for a puppy, just like my sister. Nevertheless, we ruled out a dog for the time being, but found a great pet alternative:
I know what you are thinking: chickens? They smell! They chirp! They attack you and peck your eyes out! I worried about those things, too. But then I did some research and found them to be quite ideal: they only stay inside when they are chicks, then they are always outside; they can be very loyal and loving if you socialize them and spend time with them; Zippy in A Girl Named Zippy owned one and loved it; they give you eggs; they eat bugs and fertilize gardens (I won't tell you how, that would be gross!), and they provide manageable chores for the children and hours of entertainment for them during these dismal winter months. Minimum input; maximum output, I say.
Now, we are only allowed 5 hens within city limits, so we bought ten chicks, hoping that some of them will end up as women and the roosters will be donated to the local rodeo. Our chicks are called Orpingtons. They are all the rage in England, according to orpingtonmania.com. They will lay brown eggs. They stay in a tupperware container with a heat lamp, waterer, and feeder in our kitchen. Just now I heard one chirping loudly, so I ran upstairs. It had gotten itself out of the box and was just standing next to it, wondering what to do. It was quite precious.
Look, I know dogs give you more love, but at this point, I'll take it where I can get it. (Please excuse my weird monkey mouth in this picture.)