The Dilemma of the Family Dog

Recently Dr. Awesome and I have begun discussions of a delicate point of negotiation from our (totally pretend) prenuptial agreement. When should we go ahead and open our hearts (if you ask me) or bite the bullet and succumb (if you ask him) to welcoming a Family Dog?

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Photo by Conner Baker on Unsplash.

(These pictures are mostly from unsplash and yes I want them all.)

Way back when we were just two starry-eyed twenty-somethings in love, we realized that we had divergent opinions on the nature of pet ownership. Yes, we both had a cat, but that was because I was filling the void of not being allowed a dog in my apartment and he was filling the void of not understanding that dogs are the best pets ever. We took a lot of walks together in those days of cheap dates, and I considered it distasteful that he was too germaphobic to let puppies we met lick him hello. And yet, I knew he was The One that day he called me to report that he’d seen a chocolate lab puppy on his walk home. At that point I figured I had him, hook, line, and squeaky toy.

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Photo by Andre Spieker.

We agreed shortly before we married that we could get a puppy when our oldest child was 8. He thought it would be two years before we had a child, by the way, and boy girl was he wrong.

Our oldest is still 18 months shy of this deadline, but the recent acquisition of our own space and the last year without pets has brought this discussion to the table. Yes, I tell myself, this is stupid. Bitsy isn’t even two, she still needs to potty-train, we’d love to have a fourth kid sometime, and puppies are demanding like babies.

But I love babies.

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Photo by Maddy Baker.

And puppies.

No, I tell myself, really the one who gets shot in the foot in this whole arrangement is me. An animal to let out every morning (con) and walk every night (pro). Pet food to buy (expense) and keep sealed away from kids and mice (annoyance). Another creature to teethe all over everything and fight with her siblings over toys. More messes. Arrangements to make every time we go out of town. Vet bills.

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Photo by Emerson Peters.

But oh, the unbelievable gift to my children of the love of a dog! When we were on vacation we visited a farm. There were so many kittens. I even let Boo hold one for a while before I washed his arms up to the elbows. Sally spent almost an hour holding kittens, pining for them. She’s the oldest, and feeling the strain of not getting the most of Mommy’s cuddles and having to be the most reasonable and wait her turn. She would blossom with an animal to love.

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Photo by Samuel Thompson.

I think back to my own childhood dog, and how she was really my therapist when times were hard. A dog is so sympathetic, so loving, and such a perfect listener. A dog you can cuddle and tell all your fears to as a child. She always helps you feel safe and cozy. Even in the cold.

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Photo by Tyler Callahan.

So right now I am torn. I keep telling myself this is probably not the right time, but I’ve already begun praying for the right dog to come our way. (And for patience and wisdom over it, because puppies are a little too cute.)

I haven’t pushed forward any adoption applications yet, but I have been web-cruising some local lab/lab mix rescues. Dr. Awesome (who has been caught googling “How much does it cost to own a dog”) likes the idea of being on a therapy-dog release (aka reject) waitlist, possibly because the indefiniteness of the waitlist buys him time and definitely because the dog that then arrives is almost two and fully housebroken. I’m open to an older dog if it has a proven record of being good with small children. But I of course also want to have and give my kids the adventure of a puppy, especially since then they can all “grow up” together.

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Photo by me. This was the love of my childhood: therapist, playmate, best friend. Yes, she put that butcher bone on that velvet pillow all by herself. Genius.

Do you have a furbaby added to your mix? Do you recommend it?

2 thoughts on “The Dilemma of the Family Dog

  1. We just got a second dog. (My son claimed our other dog was depressed and needed a companion.) He is 4 months old, and I swear, he is more taxing than my 4-year-old. I forgot how alike puppies and toddlers are!

    Liked by 1 person

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