My children love animals and Riley is at that age where he's always asking if he can have a pet of his own, as much as I'd love to let him have a pet I'm really not sure what animal would be best suited to him and also if he's capable of looking after them. I've been thinking hard about it and I've narrowed it down to four possibilities.
I think the safest choice for Riley would probably be a small aquarium with a couple of fish, all he would need to do is feed them everyday and he could help to clean them out and that is pretty much all you need to do with fish. You can buy all sorts of fun little tanks in a wide range of colours and they're not too expensice either so would make a great first pet choice.
Riley's first choice for a pet would be a guinea pig, he has a book about a guinea pig called Christopher Nibble and he loves it so much he wants a Christopher Nibble of his own. I love guinea pigs and think they're super cute but I worry about having one when we already have a dog as he would probably try to eat it all the time and also I hate the thought of them living outside in Winter so I'd end up with it in the house which wouldn't be ideal.
Another option would be a rabbit but I have similar concerns with a rabbit in that the dog would want to eat it and I'd feel guilty about it being outside in cold weather. Also rabbits are a bit bigger than guinea pigs and can scratch sometimes if they struggle whilst holding them which would probably put Riley off.
The last option would be a hamster, I love hamsters and I've had quite a few over the years. We'd still have the issue of stopping the dog getting to it but at least they live indoors. I think the only negative with hamster is the fact that they only live for around 18 months to 2 years, Riley gets very attached to things and I know he would be very upset if it died and I wouldn't want to see him go through that every couple of years.
It's a tough choice and something we need to think long and hard about before going forward with anything, how old were your children when they had their first pet and what did you choose?