Thursday, September 11, 2008

Robo Fido


Well, the moment has finally arrived. My daughter is so wanting a pet in the house we have to figure out something. We looked into hypo-allergenic dogs, but with my husband Eric’s level of asthma that would be a quick trip to the ER.

My daughter, who has a very sweet nature and loves her dad, had another suggestion. She wants a gecko. Okay, this solves the asthma problem, but I’m not sure the gecko will give her the affection and companionship she really wants. If anyone has or knows anything about geckos, please let me know.

Personally, I have a pretty big ick factor going with the idea of a reptile in the house, and since Mommy is probably going to be the one caring for the pet, I’m going to have to keep reminding myself how much I love my little girl while I’m doing whatever one does to provide care to a gecko. My husband suggested we call it Geico or Spot. This did not help.

Well, I can learn to live with the gecko, even thought my imagination keeps going to a place where it’s hanging from the kitchen ceiling staring at me while I’m cooking. I know, I have a vivid imagination, which helps considerably writing novels but isn’t a plus in this particular situation.

There’s one more option we want to consider. Now, it may seem pretty unusual, but I’ve seen some research on the Internet on robotic dogs being used in nursing homes to provide companionship. I checked into the Aibo dog, but it’s been discontinued. I found one on the eBay with a (gulp!) $975.00. This is a big investment for an experiment in finding my daughter a pet.

Not ready to give up on the idea yet, I kept searching and found Tekno Robotic Dog. With a Mommy friendly price tag, Toys R Us advertises that he ” he interacts with you and your environment more like a real puppy, begging to play when he sees you, contently eating his food when fed, and panting when pet, these are just a few of his possible expressions of emotion. Tekno uses his sensors to see upcoming obstacles and walks around them. Tekno can even detect the presence of your hand. When he is picked up, he knows not to squirm! Tekno comes preprogrammed with a variety of tricks, ready to bark, walk and dance on command. Tekno happily recognizes his ball and playfully holds it in his mouth. He also loves his bone and can chomp on it for hours!”

Okay, this seems promising. Sounds like she can have some fun with him. We don’t get the cuddly part, though, since he’s made of metal, and it doesn’t give her the experience of caring for and loving a living creature, which I think is what she craves.

The Paine family may become the proud owners of both Robo Fido (my husband's talent for naming may not match my daughter's ultimate choice) and Geicko the Gecko, but I don’t know if this combination will really fit the bill. If anyone has any suggestions, please send them my way!

Before I close for today, I want to send my heartfelt thanks to everyone who shared such wonderful comments on my Tribute to Topper blog. Your lovely, caring thoughts gave me great comfort. My Topper is still with me in my pictures and memories The experiences you shared with me touched me deeply.




Laura Crum said...

Mary, I hope you're doing OK with your grief over Topper. I can't really relate to the mechanical dog concept--I'm such an animal person. In our house the bed is shared with two cats and a dog and we have critters all over the place. I'd have a hard time living any other way. I hope you find a comprimise that works for all of you. Good wishes.

Mary Paine said...

Hi Laura,

Thanks for the good wishes. I'm still having moments where I get a bit teary, but having small children in the house does mean I have to keep moving. My daughter's current hunger for a household pet is a good distraction, too.

All the best,