July 6, 2012 5:08 PM Subscribe
I'm beginning to think that owning pets isn't right for me. But I'm an animal lover, I grew up with pets and the thought of giving my own away breaks my heart. What should I do about this?
posted by Pericardium to Pets & Animals (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Long story short: I'm a germaphobe. I was very young when I had my pets at home, so I didn't have to deal with the mess of potting training etc.
Now that I've moved out and have my own pets, I'm dealing with pee and poop on a daily basis, as well as cleaning off poop infested dogs etc. It's been almost a year now and potty training hasn't gone well, and I still haven't gotten used to it and gotten over my phobia like I thought I would with more exposure.
I get sick to my stomach, I feel like bugs are crawling all over me, etc. I can't stand bodily fluids and disgusting things of that sort. My partner gets upset because I use so many paper towels, toilet paper etc cleaning it up because I can't stand the thought of the mess touching my hands. They'll say, "That's what soap's for."
I love my dogs with all my heart, and the thought of not seeing them grow up and not having them in my life, or indeed not having any pets at all in my life is absolutely heartbreaking. At the same time I feel that my quality of life is being lowered by the constant reactions I'm having to the disgustingness. When there isn't a mess things are fine, the dogs are great and I love them. They're amazing. It's the visceral reaction I'm having to the cleaning more than anything. I don't want my life to be filled with poop, pee, etc. The other problem is that once I've cleaned up a disgusting mess everything else, such as going into a public bathroom and seeing a mess on the seat, gives me an even worse visceral reaction.
To give you an idea of how bad it is: Unless required for work, I've always had family members clean/unclog/etc the toilets because I've been too disgusted to touch it. If I'm alone and it clogs I'll wait to unclog it and will go to a store to use it.
My question is, how can I deal with this difficult decision? If it turns out pets aren't for me, how do I deal with the loss of what's basically been my entire life? I grew up around animals, I'm an off and on vegetarian, I feel a deep connection with them. I just can't stand being disgusted and having these visions of poop in my head and ugh.