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Moms' Talk: Is It A Good Idea To Have A Dog Join The Family? (With Videos And Talk Transcript)

Despite Constant Badgering We Are Not Getting A Dog!

“To be or not to be, that is the question.”  No, I am not revisiting the classics or trying to find the deeper meaning in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  I am repeating what I have been thinking about after endless hours of Sophia begging to be a dog owner.

It seems a day does not go by without her asking, or better yet whining and begging, to get a dog.  And I quote, “You are torturing me, you will not get me a cute little harmless, puppy.”  I do not deny that small, little dogs can be adorable; that cute, little dogs can be reliable, trustworthy friends; that cute, cuddly, furry dogs can be wonderful family members.

All that said, dogs are also a huge responsibility.

Do you mothers and fathers out there understand my reluctance?  Have you heard these pleas and been able to resist giving in? Or, on the other hand, are you a proud, happy dog owner who couldn’t image life without man’s best friend.

Our house is not totally pet -free. We do have fish and a gerbil.  These are animals that need a clean living environment and food and water.  The gerbil can be played with, but for the most part he is happy to just run on his wheel and romp around his large cage. 

These pets I can deal with.  They are pets that Sophia can take care of by herself.  The rest of the family lends a hand when needed, but since they are not pets that need constant attention, they fit in perfectly with our lifestyle.

Now a dog, that is a completely different story.  There is the training, the walking, the cleaning up after, the brushing and the veterinarian visits. 

Oh, and did I mention the vacation pet sitting when we are away from home?

 I am not only talking about a vacation, vacation where a professional house sitter or kennel would come to the rescue.  I am also talking about those summer days when we decide a family day trip to the beach would be fun.  You certainly cannot leave Fido home alone all day long to take care of himself and bringing him along is not always feasible.

Have any of you gotten a dog only to realize they are more responsibility than your children or you can handle?  Are there days when you feel like the dog is more work than pleasure? 

Sophia just does not understand these intricacies of dog ownership.  She sees friends and family with their dogs under normal, everyday circumstances.  It’s fun to go visiting and help take care of the family dog.  Walking and frolicking with a friend’s dog is vastly different than having one who relies on you 24/7.

I know some of my reluctance comes from never having a dog growing up. I had allergies to dogs, which, by all accounts I have outgrown, so this precluded my family from getting a dog.  My brothers were told, however, that once I went away to college they could get one.  I think as I went out the front door the dog was taking my spot through the back door!

My lack of experience has a great deal to do with my fervent opposition to having a dog join our family.  My husband loves dogs, but also understands the responsibility inherent in getting one.  It just would not work well with our lifestyle.

I also know that the novelty of walking, caring for and playing with a dog may wear off when homework becomes overwhelming, sports season kicks in and friends come a calling.  I do not want to be the one who ultimately becomes resentful and the dog suffers because of this.  I have seen this happen one too many times to know it is a reality.

So back to that Shakespeare quote, “To be or not to be, that is the question.” Scholars may ponder what Shakespeare was thinking when he wrote this, but now that have written it and weighed the pros and cons having a dog join our family is not to be.

Pem McNerney March 03, 2011 at 10:50 AM
Thanks Ruth! And thanks for the picture of the boot! Too funny! You are a good woman to still love that Bloodhound who did that! The dog is adorable, as is your grandson. =)
Ruth Rose March 03, 2011 at 10:58 AM
Aw, winter boots can be replaced . . . now if it had been my favorite cowboy boots . . . actually, when we leave tempting items out, it's our own fault and Jake the Bloodhound was probably just in need of attention. When they look at your with those puppy-dog eyes, we usually just melt! If dogs get enough romping and exercise during the day, they usually don't find trouble, but with puppies, you always have to be on guard. Thanks for the compliments on my grandson, too. We're having a ball together! So nice to meet you at school yesterday! LOVE your online news!
Pem McNerney March 03, 2011 at 11:21 AM
You make a good point about Jake, both his puppy-dog eyes, and the need to be on guard about pups. We had a dog once that went through a shoe or two, until we started providing him with all sorts of chew toys ... and started putting away our shoes. =) See, having a dog can be the start of all sorts of great habits! Going for regular walks, putting away your shoes ... Great to meet you too! Glad you love Patch and hope to see you again soon! And thanks again for your video testimonial, the pictures, and your thoughts on the subject.
Barbara Salzano March 03, 2011 at 12:54 PM
Ruth, you're wise to raise the point about animals being an impulsive decision. The woman who cleans our dogs teeth runs a dachsund rescue program and she had three of her most recent rescues with her yesterday when she visited my home. Two were left out on a deck in the cold and were emaciated when she took them in; they were two of the sweetest dogs you could imagine. It's inconceivable to me how anyone could abuse or neglect animals, but just watch/read the news and you know it's a reality.
Ellie Gillespie March 06, 2011 at 01:51 PM
How can you ever go wrong incorporating unconditional love into your life. Who doesn't need someone who is ecstatic when you walk in the door? Who makes you laugh and helps you realize that now is the only time we ever have? I know well the frustrations of dog misbehavior but I would give up "things" over all the wonderful and countless moments animals bring to my life and my children's anytime. I am an unrepentant animal lover - and I have learned trust from horses and joy from dogs and felt amazing love, concern and comfort from a cat so for me life without one of these amazing animals would be too difficult.

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