Is It Fair to Have a Dog in the City?

cute dogs, dogs in the city, attachment to pets
They're so cute! But is it fair to have a dog in the city?

I came across the sad news today that actor Nick Santino committed suicide after being forced to put his dog, Rocco, down. Santino had been an actor on All My Children and Guiding Light and swallowed a “bunch of pills” inside his Upper West Side apartment last week, according to dlisted. In his suicide note, Santino wrote, “Today I betrayed my best friend and put down my best friend. Rocco trusted me and I failed him. He didn’t deserve this.” The actor was reportedly under pressure to get rid of Rocco because his building management had banned pit bulls. It’s unclear whether or not Santino tried to give the dog away before deciding to put him to sleep. Our Danielle Sullivan told me, “I read this story and felt so bad, we are so attached to our dogs, I can relate to his feelings. We adopted a pup from North Shore last year and she is like our fourth child, probably more spoiled than the kids!”

My daughter and I have been talking about dogs a lot lately. After petting two dogs on the street last week, I said to the kid, “That’s a sign. We need to get a dog.” She said, “Why, so we can be attractive?” Of course I laughed, but I also suddenly remembered that having a dog means walking it all the time. I love dogs, but my daughter is only 6, and she’s definitely not old enough to help with pet care in any substantive way. I mean, she could probably handle putting dog food in a bowl, but she certainly couldn’t take the dog for a walk by herself. Then there’s the fact that we leave town at least once a month for a weekend, which means either finding a dog-sitter or kennel. And of course the fact that we live in a small apartment with no yard, which my mom says means we can’t have a dog at all. As my friend Eliot Glazer put it in his Sh*t New Yorkers Say video, “I want a dog! But it wouldn’t be fair.” (For the record, Eliot has an adorable dog IRL.)

Another friend I visited last night, who also has a dog, urged me not to get one. “They’re so expensive,” she said. And pets do sometimes get ignored when you have kids. Which leaves me wondering, would it be irresponsible to adopt a dog? The mother of one of my daughter’s classmates invited us to play with or walk the dogs at her brother’s animal rescue shelter, and I think that may be a good way to “rent-a-pet.” My friend Diana, a mother of two, is living in the best of both worlds when it comes to dog ownership. Her parents just got a puppy that her kids can see anytime they want, so they can enjoy the pros of having a pet without having to deal with the messy rest.

What do you think? Is owning a dog in the city a bad idea?

Photo via Flickr

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