Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Do We Need a Dog?

My family wants a dog.

I like dogs, but I am perfectly happy appreciating the cute pooches that belong to other people.

The other day, I jokingly said, "Maybe I'll think about getting a dog when Spencer can go 100 days without having a tantrum."

Within five minutes, Alia had whipped up a little chart to hang on the fridge.


(He has actually gone several days without a tantrum, but I stole the chart from the fridge, hoping the children would forget about it.)

From what I hear, though, every child needs a dog.  Dogs are protectors.  They are loyal companions.  They are darling and fun.

All I can think about is the additional mess I will have to clean up.

But I do really want to create a wonderful family environment, and if a dog needs to be a part of that, then I'm willing to consider.

So please, will you let me know your thoughts on this?  Does every family need a dog?

25 comments:

  1. Libby Chick-burtonJuly 18, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    Our family has recently acquired a dog.
    I have allergies and while i was doing some google research on low allergy breeds, I ended up on a local discussion board where I commented on a give away post, submitted a short essay outlining why I thought we were the idea family to re home the dog concerned. We met the donor family in the park one day, and then 2 days later collected Kea, a 4 year old Maltese Shih Tszu.
    She has settled in as if she has always been here, and being an adult dog, we have had none of the hard stuff, toilet training etc.
    If I back up a little, our family has suffered recent trauma, with my husband asking for a divorce, and our daughters are very distressed by this change. (Me too :( naturally)
    I think having Kea has really helped in this time of change. She is loyal and loving, playful and cuddly. She requires care that helps with the daily routine, but is actually very easy care. I am really happy with the things she brings to our family, and wish we had done it sooner.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I didn't grow up with a dog, but I always wanted one. Nate was rarely without dogs in his house and he firmly believes they belong in the home with the family, as opposed to tied up outside. My advice would be to do your research. Figure out which breeds are the best match for your family and situation. Younger dogs maybe bond better, but they come with potty-training and extra vet visits. Female dogs tend to dribble when they're nervous, but male dogs may mark excessively. Some breeds are higher energy and require daily walks and lots of running space. Some breeds shed more or have oily skin that can stain your walls/furniture. Remember to consider the size of the breed. While bigger dogs might have a nice deep bark and give a sense of security when you're home alone, they're more difficult to pick up and relocate (in case asking them nicely doesn't work). They also eat more. Rabbit (a male Lhasa Apso) came to our family just over 2 years ago. He's our second dog since moving to CA and he's a much better fit than our first (a female German Shepard mix). Also, get firm commitments from each family members as to the responsibilities they'll carry out - feeding, walking, poop pick-up, grooming, vet visits, etc. And decide what the repercussions will be if said responsibilites aren't carried out. Figure out where the dog will stay when you travel, and get recommendations for a good vet. When you're ready, visit petharbor.com to find your dog. Be patient and don't compromise on the age, gender, and breed you decided on. And good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lucy has been the perfect dog. I did a lot of research on what breeds are best with children, allergies etc. She is the perfect size, to "rough house" with, and be an indoor/outdoor dog. You need to trust your instincts. I had found several that seemed perfect but didn't feel quite right - too expensive, not the right breed, considered settlling. The minute I saw and held Lucy, I knew she was perfect. We have not regretted it. It is work, that is for sure. But the memories are worth the sacrifice. The kids feed her, pick up her poop, give her water etc. I do the baths, but other than that, they are very responsible. Pets are like kids - you need to be consistent. If you let him/her up on your couch sometimes, he/she will always do that. Be firm with your commands, stay consistent, it will pay off. Lucy knows where she is allowed go go. She isn't perfect - she has an obsession with kleenex in the bathroom trashcans (yuck!) but overall, now that the training is over, she is very very good. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  4. We love our dog Wonka. We got him as a puppy and although destructive during that stage he was sooo fast to train. He goes potty only in a specific area in our backyard which eliminates the mess being everywhere. He is only allowed on the tile inside the house. He is soooo sweet with the kids and very obedient. I am sharing this with you because having a dog is definitely work. Training and consistency is the key. It also teaches the kids to have chores(feeding, walking, bathing, cleaning up, etc.) They know that their pets depend on them to accomplish with those jobs. Many times have we used the line "Wonka is hungry and is waiting for you to feed them". Even if they are hesitant they will do it because they have developed a bond with him and want him to be happy. They start thinking beyond themselves. Good luck April. Having a pet is a life-changing decision.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ah ... The dog question. We had one for six months before throwing in the towel and rehoming. Of course we got a tough one but ... Both my husband and I agreed that though the kids did their best, there was very little "eternal" attachment and it was every bit as much work as a baby. Not that I'm suggesting a baby as a replacement :) Only, the work involved is the same!

    ReplyDelete
  6. No! Every family does not need a dog. Our children stopped asking a couple years ago. I told them that if they like dogs then they need to find a friend that has dogs and they can go visit them at their friends home. The great thing is that we all get to decide what is best for our families. I do like the suggestions Cecily gave. If we were to ever get a dog I would go with a little dog only because to me that equals littler bathroom waste, if you know what I mean.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think you'll love our Molly-dog! Don't ask Justin though-- he didn't want her in the first place (thus, the motorcycle)... he's totally warmed up to her though! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Cecily, I love how thorough you are! I can tell you have thought all these things through. It's so helpful! I'm hopeful that if we do get a dog, we'll know the right one, and we'll know when it's the right time. Thank you for the advice!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Rachel, that totally made me laugh. Eric told me about the motorcycle story. CLASSIC. Can't wait to meet your dog! (Just please try not to make my children jealous. Maybe let them know they can come clean up after yours ANY TIME they want!) It was fun seeing you tonight!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Pamela, I'm so grateful for your perspective! I was getting lots of "yes" responses, and I wondered if there was anyone out there who disagreed. I'm glad to hear both sides of the story. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I was wondering about that! Whenever I'm around a hyper dog, I feel like I'm chasing a toddler. I see people whose dogs are like children to them, and I totally believe that they can require the same investment of time. Perhaps if the children actually do the work . . .. Not sure if that's a dream or not. Hope your new baby is doing great!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Flory, I love how well you've trained Wonka. I'd love to bring the kids over and have you talk about how you trained him. Having slobbery carpet is one of the reasons I'm shying away from a dog--since we have such limited tile space. But if we have a small dog, that might not be much of an issue. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  13. We totally love Lucy! She is just beautiful. When we watched her that Christmas, my kids wanted to keep her! But when we returned her to your kids, it was darling to see how much they missed her. I love that! Love you!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for sharing your story! I love hearing how dogs can help heal a family. SO sorry to hear about your situation, Libby. My heart breaks for you. You're in my prayers. We WILL meet sometime in the future. Next time Power of Moms comes to Australia, we have to figure out a way to get you to the Retreat! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  15. April, we have a VERY firm no-pet rule. Jared and I have no desire at all for the additional work that a pet would take. I grew up with lots of pets, and, sorry dog-lovers, but they are a PAIN! Your kids do NOT need a dog if you don't want one; they can always get one when they grow up. Better to have them wait than for you to be stuck cleaning up/constantly reminding your kids to clean up after an animal you didn't want in the first place!

    ReplyDelete
  16. So if you have to have a dog to be a celestial family, we're definitely telestial!! HA HA! No really, I have always promised my kids we would get any dog they could find that didn't poop. That seems to have kept them "at bay" for quite a while! I do feel a little bad because my kids would also really like a dog and I do see those families that LOVE their animals and they are part of their family. I see the LOVE as a great blessing, I'm just afraid for me the burden would out-weigh the LOVE!! I'll be excited to see what you guys do. The one thing I've heard is, don't get a dog unless the MOM wants one. With kids at school and husbands at work, the mom takes on a lot of the load and you don't want resentment, etc to develop over the family dog. Good Luck!!! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  17. We have had the same requests (pleadings) for a dog around here from my children and my husband but I've held my ground. This summer my husband (without asking me first) agreed to watch someone's dog for two weeks while they were on vacation. This dog was adorable and so very well behaved too but by the time the two weeks were over, no one in our family wanted a dog anymore. The excitement wore off fast and even though the kids only had to check his food and water and pick up poop, they grew weary of it after about a week. My daughter who begged the most for a dog decided by the end of the two weeks that it was annoying to have a dog because of the work and because he would want to play with her when she wasn't interested. One day he got stuck under our deck and we spent most of the day trying to drop food between the planks to show him how to get out. It didn't work so we ended up prying off and breaking one of the wooden planks to get him out. Honestly, it was a pain, and fixing the deck is still on the to-do list. I would come home with the kids and feel guilty that one more thing was being neglected (not taking him for a walk, playing with him, etc.). It was such a relief to find all this out before having a dog of our own. Perhaps you need to dog-sit? :-)

    ReplyDelete
  18. You always make me laugh, Alisha. Love how you stick to your guns. :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I think we're in the exact same boat, Rachelle. It's going to take me meeting the "dog of our dreams" for us to get one, I think. But we'll see! My husband is so cute when he talks about getting a dog. And I'm sure he and the kids would help a lot. Miss you!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Kristine, I think dog-sitting is such a smart thing to do! We just have to find the "right time" to do it. But then I wonder if it's really the same. I didn't like babysitting, but I like my own children. Maybe it depends on the dog? You have a lot going on with a new baby coming. Maybe we just need a new baby. :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. I have a love/hate relationship with my dog. We got her after we were first married and now that she has our 3 kids to love on her too, she is one happy dog. and I have 3 happy kids who totally adore her. Yes, the extra dog hair I vacume every other day is annoying, finding a dog sitter when on vacation isn't fun either, ans the dead sopts on the grass aren'r pretty... but we really love her. my kids climb on her and she just sits there and takes it. we love our black lab!

    ReplyDelete
  22. After 15 years of having kids with no dog, we finally decided to get one as a pet for our disabled daughter. After "trying out" a Golden Retriever for a couple months (way too much hair everywhere and way too hard to train a puppy with a houseful of kids!), we decided we needed a small dog that did not shed and was already trained. I searched our local classified ads for "adult," "good with kids," etc. and came up with a few matches. We ended up with a 7-pound Yorkie. I'd totally suggest an adult dog that's already trained to "go" outside, good with kids, doesn't chew, etc. And you can't go wrong with no shedding! I bathe him in the sink and there is not a single hair left behind when he is done. (baths take 5 minutes, he is small and easy to hold on to!) Also, you could inspect my furniture with a magnifying glass and not find his favorite spot to lay-- there is no tell-tale sign. He is mostly an indoor dog, who loves to curl up by our feet or on a lap, and is small enough to bring in the car if we go on family outings. Another bonus: his poops are very small! :-) Downsides: he needs regular haircuts (every 2-3 months, the hair grows long instead of falling out), he barks whenever someone knocks on the door (still working on this, could be trained not to), and the trouble of getting a dog-sitter when we go out of town. We have been very happy with this breed and the fact that he was a grown-up when we got him I think was the biggest factor. Also, I have heard that mixed breeds and mutts are not as smart/easy to train as pure-bred dogs. This may or may not be true (I'm setting myself up to get my head bit off here, I just feel it!), but might be worth researching and factoring in to your decision.

    ReplyDelete
  23. no. dogs are not necessary. they are so much work and in every story i have heard (okay just myself and my hubs, who are both NOT dog people at all), our families got dogs and our moms ended up taking care of 'em.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Ingrid, your Yorkie sounds ideal! Thanks for sharing the tips you've learned. With all you have going on, I am SO impressed that you got a dog. I'm still not sure exactly what we'll do, but I feel like I've learned a lot about the process. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love that image of your children climbing on your dog's back. So cute! I need to come meet your dog sometime!

    ReplyDelete



Related Posts with Thumbnails