My significant other and I recently started thinking about getting a pet. One of us is almost always working from home – and while we’re not ready to commit to an animal yet, we’ve started talking about getting a _________ in the next few years. But which pet makes the best pet for freelancers? I’ve assembled a minor list of pros and cons for each; feel free to weigh in!*

Dog

Pros: Unconditionally loving, bright, happy to be with you; often good at taking orders. Excellent company when one is feeling the dreaded Freelance Isolation. Need for walks encourages exposure to sunlight, preventing rickets.

Cons: So social. So so endlessly social. Why did you leave the office if you’re constantly to be accosted every time you get up from your chair by a friendly busybody who wants to know where you’re going, please, and hey are you getting something to eat, and can I come can I come can I come? Predisposed to consume everything and anything, including deeply indigestible items that will then cause predictable, unpleasant stomach upset all over your carpet. Also, may eat you if you die.

Cat

Pros: Independent, clean, purr-y; smart, graceful, beautiful, often affectionate.

Cons: Most affectionate when angling for food. Snotty ones will hate you at some level, or at least hold you in contempt; definitely hate your significant other. Independent except when you are trying to get work done, at which point transform into deeply inconvenient keyboard warmers. Tendency to occasionally stare at you as if planning your murder; mercurial attitude towards tummy-rubs. Will definitely eat you if you die.

Guinea Pig

*Pros: *Friendly, cute. Technically edible, you MONSTER.

*Cons: *Emit high-pitched squeals on the regular; look like small furry loaves of bread with eyes. Will breed like crazy if you accidentally have two of the same gender living together, even if they are related. Then you will have to rename them Jaime and Cersei Lannister and make long-winded jokes about Game of Thrones when trying to foist off their offspring on acquaintances.

Pig

*Pros: *Smart, evidently clean. I mean, cleaner than one would expect a pig to be. Definitely edible.

*Cons: *Strong feeling of guilt whenever eating bacon. Also, come on. You are not going to get a pig, so stop reading this paragraph. No, no – you’re not. Stop.

Horse

Pros: Beautiful, strong, useful in zombie apocalypse.

*Cons: *Where are you going to house it, under the sink? Let’s just eliminate this as a possibility along with, like, llama and elephant and basilisk. Note: If you are one of five freelancers in the world who actually has a horse, congratulations. We are all intensely, painfully jealous and will be over here in the corner, doodling our friend Flicka like the 7-year-old girls we are inside.

Hamster, Gerbil, Rat, Mice, other rodents

*Pros: *Rats are very smart. Mice are very fertile. Hamsters and gerbils are very good at chewing things.

Cons: Side-eye from anyone who lives in New York City and thus is accustomed to unlimited access to the city’s truly impressive menagerie of “free-range” rodents. Endless whirring of those little plastic wheels late at night provide troubling existential parallel to the mechanics of your own overworked freelance brain. Tendency for animals to escape and either blend with / be eaten by / war against native rodent population. Weird feelings that you would play bad guy in your pets’ NIMH/ Redwall book series.

Turtles

Pros: Pretty shells, relatively low-maintenance.

Cons: Have you ever smelled a turtle tank? Woof. Let us just say that the Teenage Mutant Ninja TortoiseCreatures were well-off in the sewer.

Children

These are not technically pets, although they will ruin your furniture and they do make a lot of noise. My editor tells me I cannot do Pros and Cons here, so: children! I like and enjoy most of them. I was one once, and so were you! I am related to many, all of whom I love to little bits, and I sympathize with you if you have them on airplanes.

Goldfish

Pros: Decorative, interesting, vaguely Machiavellian as would definitely eat you if you were smaller than it; however, cannot eat you if you die, as it is stuck in bowl. Instead, will probably die soon after you die, after consuming its smaller goldfish brethren.

Cons: Not much to cuddle with. Fish food smells bad – and what is in those little flakes, anyway? Other fish? I don’t want to know. That is some grim stuff.

Snake

Pros: OH GOD WHY. I mean, yes, I respect them and they are beautiful in their environment and they are one of Nature’s Miracles and they are fine at the zoo behind three inches of glass but oh the blood-curdling heebie-jeebies. Wait, I’m sorry, this is the Pros paragraph. Um, they are smooth to the touch even though touching them makes you want to faint.

*Cons: *My childhood cat once caught and ATE a garter snake while I helpfully stood on a chair and wailed ineffectually. She then threw it back up. So… I’m guessing they do not taste great.

* In truth, Kate Hamill loves all animals and is poking mild fun at everything and anything. She has owned very lovely dogs and cats and all manner of rodents in her time.

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