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You said you have a fish tank? How about a Beta fish in a little bowl on your desk? I have two, they're so pretty, and quiet and very colorful. They have to have their own bowls of course or will kill each other. I have their bowls side by side so they can see each other and they show off their fins and dance around. I really enjoy them.
I'd go with a hermit crab. They don't need a lot of space. Frogs really need the equivalent to a 10gal aquarium of space each.
Bettas are also fun if you can ensure the bowl will not get accidentally get knocked over by a well-meaning dog.
"obsessive border collie"
What border collie isn't obsessive? hehehe
If you are looking for a low maintenance pet, may I suggest a pet rock?
Some say it is the perfect pet because it doesn't need water or food.
It is quite and tends not to wander too far.
It knows simple commands such as sit, stay and play dead.
It does not have to be walked, Nor will it hang out the window when riding in the car.
It offers protection at home or the office. (just throw it at the intruder)
For the most part your Pet Rock is not aggressive towards your visitors or dates.
If you get your Pet Rock from those offered on eBay, most come with a crate and a nice bed of straw. Also ask if it comes with the instruction book so you can learn how to care for your pet.
I wish you the best on your search for the perfect desk pet.
A pet rock? Does it come with a disco ball and a Saturday Night Fever album? ;)
I agree with the hermit crab suggestions.
And I know what you mean about dogs responding to "illegal" activity by another pet. My sheltie likes to inform on the cats when they use the scratching post. No amount of work on my part has convinced him that this is an okay thing. Fortunately, the cats just ignore him and keep scratching.
I have two african dwarf frogs that are super low maintanence and are so fun to watch. I feed them frozen brine shrimp and frozen blood worms (no live feed here). They are each about an inch or less long and go into the cutest little zen position where they just go super still and float. Bob and Charlie have been with me for about 5 years now. I think they would make a great desk pet.
A Betta fish, they are beautiful.
I have a green tree frog, he does eat live crickets though. If buying bugs would bother you I highly recommend Russian Tortoises, They do not get too big and they are vegetarians! Probably need more room than a desk would provide.
I'd go with a Betta.